Hydropower plants will seriously damage the Red River, scientists say

National Assembly deputies have expressed their concern about Lao Cai provincial authorities desire to build two hydropower plants on the Red River.

The Lao Cai provincial People’s Committee has proposed to the Prime Minister to include the 60 MW Thai Nien and 40 MW Bao Ha hydropower projects on the Red River into the small and medium hydropower development program.

Hydropower plants will seriously damage the Red River, scientists say

Of these, Thai Nien is expected to be located in Thai Nien and Son Ha communes of Bao Thang district with the basin area of 41,365 square meters and designed water flow of 1,269 cubic meters per second. It is predicted to affect 57 households and cover an area of 572.57 hectares.

Meanwhile, Bao Ha project, is expected to have the basin area of 43,865 square meters, designed water flow of 1,569 cubic meters. The plant, located in Bao Ha commune of Bao Yen district and Tan Thuong commune of Van Ban district, would affect 12 households only and cover an area of 397.55 hectares.

Le Cong Nhuong, a member of the National Assembly’s Science, Technology and Environment Committee, said all attempts of making an intervention into nature must be considered thoroughly.

Nhuong reminded the National Assembly of the impact the Chinese owned hydropower projects on Mekong River have had on Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. Located on the lower course, many Mekong Delta provinces have suffered from drought and water shortage over the last few years.

The existence of hydropower plants on Mekong upper course is threatening the living environment of fish as it disrupts the migration path and blocks alluvium from reaching the Mekong Delta.

The water shortage is so serious that Vietnam once had to ask China to increase the volume of discharged water to help ease the drought.

The existence of hydropower plants on Mekong upper course is threatening the living environment of fish as it disrupts the migration path and blocks alluvium from reaching the Mekong Delta.

“It is necessary to consider hydropower projects on Red River very carefully. I personally think Vietnam should not build the plants,” he said.

 

Sharing the same view, Bui Thi An, former member of the National Assembly’s Science, Technology and Environment Committee, said the National Assembly once excluded hundreds of hydropower projects from the development program, and she could not understand why Lao Cai insists on developing the two projects which have total capacity of 100 MW only.

An noted that a waterway transport & hydropower project on the Red River was rejected by the PM three years ago after it faced strong opposition from scientists.

Vu Trong Hong, former Deputy Minister of Water Resources, also said it would be better not to think of developing hydraulic power on the Red River.

He said the Red River carries a large amount of alluvium, and it would be difficult to treat the ground if power plants are built. However, the most important reason is that hydropower plants will block the river current, causing water shortage for the lower course.

“Hydropower plants are mostly located on Da River, and there are very few plants on Lo River, and there’s no project on Red River,” he said.

Kim Chi

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