VietNamNet Bridge – The river water has got seriously polluted, the rice fields wither because of no watering, while people do not have clean water for daily life. These are all the problems local residents in the Ba river downstream area are facing.
“All the problems of the Ba River relate to the An Khe-Ka Nak hydropower plant,” affirmed Hoang Van Bay, Head of the Water Natural Resource Agency, an arm of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment.
Hydropower plant drives rivers to suicide
Nine hydropower plants with the capacity of 12-240 MW have been built on the Ba river system since 2006. Many of them are completed and become operational, namely Song Hinh hydropower plant with the capacity of 70 MW, Song Ba Ha (240 MW), An Khe – Kanak (173 MW) and Krong H’Nang (66 MW).
With so many hydropower plants, all the upstream area of Ba River has been reserved for water reservoirs. As a result, residents in the downstream have been living in fears for the last many years. They are afraid of the high flood in the rainy season and the drought in the dry season.
According to the Gia Lai provincial authorities, the water quality and the Ba River environment have been seriously polluted. The big hydropower plants have absorbed all the water of the Ba River, leaving no water for local residents to water rice fields and use in daily life.
The leaders of An Khe, Ayun Pa communes and Kbang, Kong Chro, Ia Pa, Krong Pa districts all have lodged complaints to the relevant ministries, asking to settle the problems caused by the An Khe-Ka of both the hydropower plant developers and local residents
A senior official of Phu Yen province, which most suffers from the hydropower plants, because it is located on the downstream area of the Ba River, said that in sunny season, the Ba River gets depleted. Meanwhile, in rainy season, the hydropower plants let water out from the reservoirs, thus inundating the Ba river downstream area.
He went on to say that the An Khe-Ka Nak hydropower plant has turned the stretch of Ba River running across the An Khe town into a dead river.
The river water has got seriously polluted with the dead bodies of animals, shrimp and fishes. The situation has been bolstered by the waste water sources from nearby factories. The rice fields in Kong Chro, Ia Pa and Krong Pa have died because of no water.
Especially, the water discharged unexpectedly by hydropower plants has killed some residents in Phu Yen province.
Harmonizing benefits – easier said than done
According to Do Hong Phan, an experienced water expert, said that in general, involved parties and local authorities think of protecting the rivers and environment too late. Only when the rivers are pushed into danger, would they try to apply necessary measures to protect the rivers. Meanwhile, there’s always a principle that diseases would be more easily treated if the treatment begins soon.
Nguyen Ti Nien, a former senior official of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, has also expressed his insecurity about the sharing of the benefits from rivers.
According to Nien, as for the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the development of hydropower plants has been fixed; however, it’s still necessary to reconsider the possible impacts of the hydropower plants on the water environment the local residents’ life.
He emphasized the need of relevant ministries to cooperate to settle arising problems.
“I know the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment has much power, but it has not shown its strength. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has strength but it does not have enough power,” he said.
Source: Dat Viet