Hydropower Plant refuses to release water for Vu Gia River

The prolonged hot and dry weather has dried the Vu Gia River in the central province of Quang Nam over last several days, but the Dak Mi 4 Hydropower Plant is still not releasing water from its reservoir.

The dam sluice gates of the Dak Mi 4 Hydropower Plant still remain closed, despite a directive by Deputy prime minister Hoang Trung Hai (Photo: SGGP)

The drought has made the Vu Gia River bed look like a small red trench running along Highway 14B, from Da Nang City to the Dak Mi 4 Hydropower Plant in Phuoc Son District of Quang Nam Province.

Tran Van Binh, from Dai Loc District, laments that ever since the hydropower plant was built in the upper reaches, local residents have not dared to swim in the river anymore as its water is always a strange red colour and very muddy.

Tens of kilometres of this are along the Bung River in Dong Giang District. The Bung River is another tributary of the Vu Gia River besides Dak Mi River.

Bung River too has become muddy after construction of the hydropower plant and gold mining. Worse still is that the Dak Mi River has completely dried out along the section from Phuoc Son District to Nam Giang District. It used to be a large river, whose water flowed into the Vu Gia River, just till a few years ago.

Despite depletion of the Vu Gia River, sluice gates of the Dak Mi 4 Hydropower Plant still remain closed even though its reservoir level was found to be quite high on May 14.

The plant should have followed instructions of Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai, to release water to cope with drought conditions.

On the same day, Sai Gon Giai Phong reporters tried but failed to meet the plant’s investors in Phuoc Son District as they were ‘busy’.

The depleted Vu Gia River (Photo: SGGP)

The low water level in the Vu Gia River has facilitated salt penetration, putting 1.7 million residents at risk and danger of water shortage for daily usage and irrigation in Da Nang City and Dai Loc, Duy Xuyen and Dien Ban Districts in Quang Nam Province.

Huynh Van Thang, deputy director of the Da Nang City Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that Dak Mi 4 Hydropower Plant has blocked the Dak Mi River to accumulate water, causing it to deplete in the dry season.

Da Nang City in 2009 and 2010 had continuously asked the plant’s investor to open its sluice gates to provide water for the Vu Gia River. Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai then instructed the plant to release water at 25 cubic metres a second. However, the Dak Mi 4 Plant has continued to ignore the Deputy PM’s requests.

By Nguyen Khoi – Translated by Hai Mien

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