Hydropower plants open floodgates, contribute to central Vietnam floods

Created 03 December 2021
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A downstream hydropower plant in Phu Yen discharged up to 9,000 m3/s for hours this week, worsening floods that has left at least four dead in the central province.
Hydropower plants open floodgates, contribute to central Vietnam floods

Over the past few days, downstream areas of the Ba Ha River in Phu Yen have been flooded due to heavy rains and the fact that hydropower plants upstream opened their floodgates and let out water in high volumes. Many residents believed the flood came too quickly as the plants failed to inform them in time.

Tran Ly, general director of the Ba Ha River Hydropower Joint Stock Company, said Central Highlands regions have been experiencing heavy rains over the past few days, prompting two hydropower plants upstream the Ba Ha River plant to open their floodgates, resulting in water rushing down at 10,000 m3/s.

As the Ba Ha River plant is the last one downstream, it is forced to open its floodgates as well, Ly said.

On November 30, the Ba Ha plant raised its released water volume from 4,000 m3/s to 9,000 m3/s over seven hours, a volume of tens of thousands of Olympic swimming pools.

It was to regulate water level in the reservoir as two other plants upstream also opened their floodgates, Ly said.

However, the fact that the Ba Ha River plant opened its floodgates and released high volumes of water has contributed to flooding in downstream areas, Ly admitted, saying the opening of floodgates is decided by the provincial People’s Committee and the committee is tasked with informing residents about it.

Tran Huu The, chairman of the Phu Yen People’s Committee, said there were heavy rains in the province on November 30. Coupling with the fact that the Central Highlands’ Dak Srong and Krong Hnang hydropower plants released water volumes at 10,000 m3/s, while the reservoir of Ba Ha River plant can only hold 150 million cubic meters, opening the floodgates was necessary.

Authorities have also instructed the Ba Ha River plant to release water appropriately depending on tide levels to mitigate impacts on downstream areas.

On November 30, the Hinh River and the Ba Ha River hydropower plants released water volumes at around 6,000 m3/s, increasing the rate to around 9,000 m3/s at noon and 11,000 m3/s at around 3 p.m. Water was released more slowly after 4 p.m. at around 6,400 m3/s and stayed at that rate until the next morning.

"We knew the tide was highest starting from 7 p.m., so we actively regulated the water volumes flowing downstream, preventing big floods at night which could be very dangerous," said The.

For now, localities would strive to resolve impacts by rains and floods and help people return to their daily lives. In the long run, multiple smaller reservoirs would be needed to store water for dry seasons and lessen flooding impacts during rainy seasons, he added.

In the past five days, heavy rains and floods in Phu Yen have rendered at least four dead and six others missing. Around 3,000 houses were flooded, forcing tens of thousands of people to be evacuated.

Throughout central Vietnam and Central Highlands regions, at least 18 people have either died or gone missing due to the floods.

Source: VNE

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