Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Power plants add to flood woes

Eco Business via the Vietnam News: Scientists are concerned about the negative impact of hydro-power plants on people’s lives in areas hit by extreme weather, while rivers in the South become critically polluted by industrial waste.

Viet Nam River Network (VRN), a local non-governmental organization, affirmed at its annual conference held recently that power plants in the Central region had changed the natural flows in rivers and created shortages of water during the dry season.

Studies by scientists working for the network have shown that discharges by the plants’ reservoirs have worsened flood situations, which occur annually in the region. Floods in recent years have had much stronger currents and they inundated lowland areas more quickly than ever before. Local residents in the areas where power plants are located also blamed the reservoirs for waters that flooded their fields and removed top soil.

Le Thi Thu Suu, VRN’s chief coordinator, said climate change impacts had created extreme weather phenomena, including higher rainfalls during rainy seasons and critical shortages of water in dry months. “Power plant reservoirs increase the negative impacts and influence residents, as they hold back water during the dry season, worsening the shortage of water for cultivation and waterway traffic.

“Meanwhile, the reservoirs create large floods when they discharge water in the rainy seasons when lowland areas are flooded with water from high rainfalls. This affects crops and claims lives, as well as floods the properties of local residents,” Suu said, adding that she had evidence collected by local residents in Quang Nam Province....

The spillway of the Ya Ly dam in Vietnam, shot by [Tycho],, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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