Early rains cannot fill up reservoirs

Despite the rains coming sooner than previous years, many hydropower plants are still suffering a serious shortage of water, with the water level of reservoirs dropping dangerously low.

A waterfall in the highland province of Lam Dong. Vietnam will likely to face a power shortage problem as reservoirs are drying up around the country, especially in the Central Highlands and southern provinces (Photo:Phan Hien)

The water level of the reservoir remained unchanged due to the low rainfall in the riverhead of the Mo waterfall, said Nguyen Cong Thang, director of the Thac Mo Hydropower Plant, adding the water level was still at alarmed rate.

Thang told Dau Tu Tai Chinh Newspaper that the daily output amounted 450,000 – 500,000 kilowatt per hour (kWh) only, equal to a half of the average amount in the same period of previous years.

The Gia Lai Province Power Company estimated seven out of 19 local hydropower plants had to be temporarily shut down due to a shortage of water.

Yaly Hydropower Plant – one of the biggest hydropower in the mountainous province of Tay Nguyen – cannot run in its full operational capability as its reservoir’s water level was at 500 meters only, which is 17 meters lower than the common level and only 9 meters higher than the alarmed level.

The plant generated 1.7-1.8 billion kWh in the last six moths last year, but it estimated the output would reduce nearly by half in the same period this year.

Director Ta Van Luan of the plant said the water level was 9 meters higher than the alarmed level only because the plant reduced its operation.

Nguyen Van Thinh, general director of the Southern Hydropower JSC, said two plants of the firm – Da Dang and Dasiat in the highland province of Lam Dong – are also reducing their operation due to a similar problem.

The National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting expected the rainfall will remain low until next month, with the water level of reservoirs over 10-15 percent lower year-on-year.

Pham Minh Luong, director of the Southern Load Dispatch Center, said the state utility Electricity of Vietnam instructed the center to keep close eyes on the water level of reservoirs in order to have measures on time to ensure the national power security.

Many hydropower plants have had to reduce operations due to dangerously low water levels, worsening the electricity shortage problem in the country.

Power plant operators said reservoirs are drying up around the country, especially in the Central Highlands and southern provinces.

In February, total water flow into Vietnam’s reservoirs fell by 189 million cubic meters from a year ago. Major power plants including Hoa Binh, Tuyen Quang and Tri An reported that their water levels are now only four to 10 meters above the dead level.

Vietnam depends on hydropower plants for up to 40 percent of its electricity demand. State utility Electricity of Vietnam said it will try to ease the power shortage problem by importing more electricity from China.

The utility purchased 956 million kilowatt-hours from China in the first two months, up 28.89 percent from the same period last year.

By Do Tra Giang – Translated by Ngoc Son

Other news