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Drought puts hydropower plants at risk

(14:05:55 PM 13/05/2015)
(Tinmoitruong.vn) - Severe drought in the central and the Central Highlands region has threatened not only cultivation but also hydropower plants as they must have enough water to generate electricity and irrigate crops in downstream areas.

 Drought puts hydropower plants at risk

Illustrative image -- File photo


Nguyen Van Tang, head of the An Khe-Ka Nak Hydropower management board, told the Daily on May 4 that just one cubic meter of water has flowed into the plant’s dam per second since the second half of April.


“This is the lowest water flow in 70 years,” Tang said.


The current water volume of the reservoir in the central province of Binh Dinh is some 2.1 million cubic meters, equivalent to a mere 30% of the designed capacity of six million cubic meters.  


Tang said water shortage has forced the hydropower plant to cut its power generation for more than one week and its electricity output would continue to drop until the end of this month.


A Vuong hydropower plant in the central province of Quang Nam is in the same boat as it has fallen short of 65 million cubic meters of water in the year to date.


Nguyen Tram, general director of A Vuong Hydropower Joint Stock Company, said the water level of the plant’s dam was usually 380 meters at the start of the dry season in previous years but has sunk to nearly 370 meters this year.


Tram said the plant has worked out a plan to generate power and at the same time discharge water for lowlands. However, the water volume could hit the dead level of 340 meters on August 31 if no more water runs into its dam.


Water levels of the rivers in the south-central and the Central Highlands are forecast to decline sharply in March-August this year due to drought.


Vietnam Electricity Group (EVN) said the central and the Central Highlands regions have grappled with severe drought and water levels of the reservoirs there have been lower than the average of previous years.


EVN said it had to run coal- and gas-fueled power plants at full steam and at the same time bought electricity from China last month to ensure sufficient power supply for businesses and households.


The National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting said weather conditions would continue to be unfavorable until September.


The center forecast low rainfalls in the central coastal localities in the next four months.


Water levels of the river from Thanh Hoa to Ha Tinh provinces in the coming months are predicted to be 30-80% lower than the average of previous years, while the percentages would be 60-90% for the rivers from Quang Tri to Binh Thuan provinces.


The water level of Cai River in Nha Trang City, Khanh Hoa Province could be up to 90% lower than the average of previous years.