|Thu Bon River. — File Photo
DA NANG (VNS) — A host of problems are threatening to destroy the Vu Gia-Thu Bon River basin, which provides invaluable resources to the 2.5-million population of Quang Nam and this city.
According to Nguyen Chu Hoi, a researcher of environment and coastal resources at National University, the problems are illegal destruction of riverhead forests, over-exploitation of mineral resources, decentralised management of rivers and faulty development of hydropower plants.
Hoi made these remarks at a consultation workshop held here yesterday on "Integrated watershed and coastal management – ‘from ridge to reef' approach: application in the Vu Gia-Thu Bon River Basin."
"Water, a natural resource, has multiple uses for various agencies seeking different benefits, but a responsible and integrated agency that will resolve conflicts in the use of river basin water and conduct a thorough pollution assessment has yet to be formed," Hoi said.
"The inappropriate construction of hydropower plants, over-exploitation of mineral resources and inordinate use of water from riverhead areas have changed the ecological balance and created a negative environmental impact on the population and habitat of fish and aquatic species," he added.
Le Van Giang, chairman of the Hoi An City People's Committee, blamed the development of irrigation and hydropower plants for limiting water flow from the river basin and causing the serious erosion of beaches in Hoi An city.
He said a vast beach in Cua Dai, near the UNESCO heritage town of Hoi An, has disappeared in recent years even as erosion on the river banks of Thu Bon was threatening the existence of the heritage town.
Dao Trong Tu, an expert on natural water resources and river basins, suggested that the management of Vu Gia-Thu Bon River basin be revived with a better solution.
"There is a need to resolve conflicts of interest among agencies using water in the Vu Gia-Thu Bon River basin. A total of 42 hydropower plant projects have been approved while 10 more will be built by 2020. More than 820 irrigation projects with 72 reservoirs were built in the river basin, but these projects just operate at 51 per cent of designated capacity," Tu noted.
Bui Thu Hien of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) said the workshop aims at identify the reality of water development and management in the river basin and barriers to its sustainable development in connection with the Da Nang and Quang Nam coastal zones. — VNS