VietNamNet Bridge – Without hydro-power reservoirs, floods in the central region may be more serious, stated Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong at a workshop last week.
Human-triggered floods threaten central Vietnam
Speaking at the workshop attended by representatives from big hydro power plants in Vietnam like Hoa Binh, Yaly, A Vuong, Ba Ha, etc. Vuong confirmed that the case of Ba Ha power plant in Phu Yen province is a minor mistake.
In early November, Ba Ha power plant discharged water without informing the local authorities, causing floods in Phu Yen province.
At the workshop, Ba Ha’s general director Vo Van Tri admitted the plant made a careless mistake. He explained that the plant could not call or fax the Phu Yen People’s Committee. It sent an employee to the committee to inform the local authorities of the water discharge but the employee didn’t fulfill his task and report back to the plant managers.
Nguyen Tram, general director of A Vuong Hydro-power Plant in the central province of Quang Nam, also confirmed that reservoirs don’t make floods. He said reservoirs always discharge the water volumes that are lower than the water output from the upstream.
He said last year, A Vuong reservoir discharged water at the speed of 2,600 cubic meters per second while the flood water speed was 4200 cubic meters per second.
“Without our reservoir, the flood water would have run downstream at higher speeds. But we were accused of causing flood in Dai Loc district. After the flood withdrew, we organized 18 meetings in communes to introduce our flood discharging model. At that time, local residents understood and agreed with us,” Tram said.
Bui Minh Tang, director of the National Centre for Hydro-meteorology said that reservoirs like A Vuong and Ba Ha have just operated in the central region for several years but floods appeared many years ago. “I don’t defend reservoirs but it is unfair if they are blamed for causing floods in the central region,” Tang added.
Dao Tan Cam, director of the Industry and Trade Department of Phu Yen province, said that it is injustice to accuse Ba Ha power plant of violating the rules on operating reservoirs.
“Ba Ha informed the province’s Steering Board for Flood and Storm Control and sent text messages to my cell phone. Moreover, the regulations on reservoirs had been issued several days before it discharged water,” Cam explained.
Cam analyzed that the Ba Ha river’s water output is 9.7 billion cubic meters while Ba Ha reservoir can contain over 300 million cubic meters. Therefore, this reservoir only functions as an irrigation dam.
Do Duc Quan, vice chief of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Energy Department, agreed with Cam, saying that this reservoir is not effective in reducing floods. This is similar to other hydro-power reservoirs in the region.
“In the central region, the strategy should be preventing, avoiding or adapting to floods, not relying on hydro power plants to reduce flooding,” Quan said.
Cao Anh Dung, vice head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Industrial Safety, confirmed that Ba Ha power plant didn’t break the rule in discharging water. Its only mistake was not informing the local authorities beforehand.
“Many people asked me about the sanction on Ba Ha plant but we don’t have regulations on sanctions on such mistakes,” Dung said.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong confirmed that hydro power plants have contributed to Vietnam’s development and to flood reduction. The case at Ba Ha plant is a small mistake.
He told hydro-power plants to strictly obey regulations of operating reservoirs and co-operate with local authorities and other power plants sharing the same flows.
However, Vuong admitted the fact that there are some small power plants that don’t work effectively but cause floods downstream.
“Power plants with capacity of several MW and cause floods for a hundred of hectares should be closed,” Vuong said.