Viet Nam News
NGHỆ AN — Hydropower projects in the central province of Nghệ An are causing problems for local people due to poor planning that has damaged the environment and led to the threat of damn breaches during the rainy season.
Kỳ Sơn District in Nghệ An Province is home to a planned ten hydropower projects.
Three are already in operation, while four are under construction and a further three are in the planning stages.
As a result, hundreds of families have been living in makeshift housing for the last seven years to make way for the projects without welfare.
According to Nguyễn Thanh Hoàng from Kỳ Sơn District’s People’s Council, nearly 4,000 people have given up their land for the Mỹ Lý Hydropower project.
Hoàng said that the three plants already in operation had destroyed aquatic life and damaged the local fisheries industry.
Kỳ Sơn District is not the only victim of impending hydropower projects. A report issued by the province’s Department of Industry and Trade indicated that 32 projects with a total capacity of nearly 1,400 MW had been approved.
13 of them are already operational, two are being piloted, nine are under construction and the rest are still on paper.
Even completed hydropower plants cannot offer local residents a better life.
Bản Vẽ Hydropower Plant, for example, is among Việt Nam’s biggest projects. Before its construction in 2004, the Government established a resettlement area for those affected by the project, but people are leaving the resettlement area for land near their old village in Hữu Khuông Commune, Tương Dương District, aiming to find better livelihoods and educational opportunities for their children.
Poor planning and limited research have led to people being forced to move to mountainous with limited farming space and low agricultural productivity.
Several experts have also warned about the threat of dam failure in the rainy season.
Vũ Trọng Hồng, head of the Việt Nam Water Resources Development Association, told Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper that a week-long downpour could threaten the damn.
“Hundreds of small reservoirs at hydropower plants are degraded. They pose a risk to people living in nearby areas,” he said.
There are nearly 1,900 fully charged reservoirs in the north and north-central regions, according to data from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. Nghệ An Province alone is home to 509 reservoirs. — VNS