Central Highlands dams in state of disrepair, pose threat of bursting

Update: August, 20/2019 - 03:27
A reservoir in Ea Rai Commune in Đắk Lẳk Province’s Ea H’Leo District. VNA/VNS Photo Dương Giang

HCM CITY Provinces in the Central Highlands region face the risk of reservoirs bursting since hundreds of them are damaged or degraded.

The warning comes even the peak of the raining season has yet approached. In the Central Highlands, the rainy season begins in May and ends in October.

According to figures from the the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's Department of Irrigation, the region has 1,150 water reservoirs and more than 5,000km of canals.

Nguyễn Hoài Dương, director of the Đắk Lắk Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the province has nearly 780 irrigation works including 607 reservoirs with total capacity of 620 million cubic meters, and they have yet to undergo safety verification but show signs of degradation.

Of note, about 102 reservoirs operated by rubber farms, plantations and rubber companies are highly unsafe, the Nhân dân (The People) newspaper reported.

Trương Đức Thanh, director of the Irrigation Division in Tuy Đức District, Đắk Nông Province, said most of the reservoirs in the district are damaged and unsafe after several decades of use.

But the allocation of funds to repair them is insufficient, he said.

During a working tour of Kon Tum, another Central Highlands province, Nguyễn Văn Tình, head of the irrigation department, said relevant agencies must assess all reservoirs for their capacity to withstand bad weather and floods and the conditions of residential areas in their lower section.

Provincial authorities are responsible for the safety of these reservoirs and dams and agencies at district and commune levels, for small reservoirs, he said.

District and commune authorities should organise advanced training courses to improve the capability of officials managing these reservoirs, educate residents on reservoir and dam safety and raise their awareness of responding to incidents happening at these facilities, he added.

According to the irrigation department, VNĐ12 trillion (US$518 million) was spent to repair 633 reservoirs, and more funds are required for another 1,200 reservoirs around the country.

Of them, 450 were listed in a $433 million project to repair and improve safety.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has asked for VNĐ287 billion to repair and renovate 47 reservoirs in 19 provinces and cities in the central and Central Highlands regions. — VNS