After Dak Lak, Gia Lai and Phu Yen Provinces decided to discontinue hydropower projects, Kon Tum province in the central highlands of Vietnam has followed suit and decided against any further hydropower projects.
The reason for this decision has been loss of forest cover, villagers left without resettlement options and downstream river basins becoming severely degraded.
|Part of Dak Rong 3 hydro plant in Quang Tri province broken by the food due to careless construction (Photo: Dan Tri )|
The provincial People's Committee informed that 21 hydropower projects have been removed from the development plan, but there are still 48 plants either in process or operating.
Hundreds of hydropower dam projects in the central region and central highlands have either been put on hold or stopped as serious social and environmental consequences have depleted the region.
Local authorities in Gia Lai Province have lauded the Government for stopping any more hydropower plants to be developed in the region.
During a recent meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, the chairman of Gia Lai People's Committee said it was time to look at reality and stop hydroelectric dam development in his province.
Although the concept of sustainable development is to relocate affected people to places that are at least as economically viable, what has happened in these areas is much different in reality.
In Gia Lai, the development of the 173-MW An Khe-Knak hydropower plant has reduced thousands of households to poverty.
When the plant went into operation, the flow of the Ba River diminished, causing irreversible damage to the downstream basin.
A number of other rivers in the central highlands, including Dak Snghe, Dak Bla and Se San, are said to have suffered a similar fate with the development of the Thuong Kon Tum 220-MW plant.