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Vietnam lacks efficient management of hydropower operations: MoIT
By Lan Nhi
Thursday,  Aug 9, 2018,14:48 (GMT+7)

Vietnam lacks efficient management of hydropower operations: MoIT

By Lan Nhi

A file photo features hydropower dam Ea Krel2 in Gia Lai Province that collapsed in 2013 – PHOTO: TL

HANOI - The law on irrigation does not include regulations on the operation and management of hydropower dam safety, according to a recent report by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

The hydropower dam collapse in Laos last month was a warning to Southeast Asian countries in general and Vietnam in particular. The Vietnamese Government on August 7 issued a directive on ensuring safety at hydropower reservoirs and dams and on securing the lives of people in the area.

Government data showed that there are nearly 7,000 irrigation and hydropower reservoirs in operation across the country. Most of the irrigation reservoirs were built years ago, have deteriorated and are no longer able to withstand extreme flooding conditions, threatening people’s lives and risking assets in downstream areas. Meanwhile, safety monitoring of irrigation and hydropower works is limited and loose.

According to the MoIT’s report, released on August 8, as many as 385 hydropower works are operational nationwide, 40 of which do not have reservoirs or use the water of irrigation reservoirs to generate power. The remaining 345 hydropower works are under the management of the ministry and provincial governments. Some 338 out of 345 reservoirs have had their operations assessed and approved.

Some regulations are not clear, and there are no specific regulations on creating disaster preparedness plans and flood maps as required, the ministry said.

Although hydro-meteorological observations are crucial in the monsoon season, there is sometimes a stark difference between forecasts and reality, making it hard for hydropower operators to safely and effectively operate the reservoirs.

The ministry admitted that since there are no regulations on flood corridors, many households have built houses and conduct farming activities in flood corridors.

To address this loose management, the ministry proposed the Government add amendments to the regulations on reservoir and dam safety, including a new decree to replace Decree 72/2007/ND-CP.

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