Natural Resources

January 17, 2022, 11:21 am

Proposed hydropower plant could affect beautiful Ba Be Lake area

(16:36:32 PM 19/08/2014)
( - The Bac Kan provincial authorities are considering building a hydropower dam 33 meters high, which could affect the popular Ba Be Lake and the surrounding eco-system.


One of the three natural sources that provide water to Ba Be Lake comes from Nang River, which originates in the northwest part of Cao Bang Province and then goes across the districts of Pac Nam and Ba Be before running into the lake.

In 2008, the Bac Kan provincial authorities issued a decision to block the river’s stream in Ba Be District to build a hydropower plant.

The proposal met with strong opposition from people in Ba Be district because the hydropower dam would deplete Ba Be Lake, damage the local ecosystem, and cause a drought in seven communes.

The project later was delayed amid the protest of locals. However, the investors and the provincial authorities have never given up the intention to build a hydropower plant there.

Most recently, the province’s Department of Natural Resources and the Environment on July 10 sent a dispatch to central agencies, asking for permission to build a hydropower plant on Nang River.

The location chosen by the local authorities for the plant is in Banh Trach Commune, which is called a “mineral sand gold navel”.

Some local people said they believe that investors are not really interested in developing a hydropower plant there, but just want to look for a gold mine purportedly located under water.

For many years, Banh Trach has been well known as a “hot spot” for illegal gold mining.

Environmental threat

Ba Be Lake has a water surface area of 500 hectares and an average depth of 20-25 meters. The water of the lake is sourced from Cho Leng and Bo Lu Streams originating in the southwest and from Nang River in the north.

Of the three sources, the water from Nang River plays the most important role in the existence of the local ecosystem.

The river is a rich source of water to Ba Be Lake, which contains 106 kinds of freshwater fish, 11 of which are listed in Vietnam’s Red Book.

People fear that if the Nang River current is blocked, Ba Be Lake would be depleted, which would lead to major changes in the living environment of the aquatic creatures in the lake.

“I am afraid that fish and shrimp won’t be able to live. If so, people living on fishing like me would starve,” said Nguyen Van Thuan, a local resident.

Do Thi Minh Hoa, Secretary of the Ba Be district’s Communist Party Committee, said she protested against the hydropower project.

“Should we exchange the local ecosystem and the livelihood of hundreds of people for a small hydropower plant with a capacity of 5 MW and 30 jobs?” she said.


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