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Power projects hit by drought

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By Vietnam today | Vietnam, Feb 2 2011

Many small and medium hydropower plants in the Central Highlands do not have enough water to operate efficiently although the rainy season is about to end.

Most hydroelectric companies in Dak Lak complain production has reached only about half of their targets because of the drought-like weather conditions.

Some small plants had to shut down temporarily to accumulate enough water, they said.

There are four hydropower plants on the Serepok River - the Buon Tu Srah Hydropower Plant with a 520 million cubic metres reservoir in Lak District; the Buon Kuop Hydropower Plant in Dak Lak Province's Krong No District; Dray H'Linh, Serepok 3 Plants in Dak Nong Province's Cu Dut District and Serepok 4 in Buon Don District, Dak Lak.

Tran Van Khanh, director of the Buon Kuop Hydropower Company which operates the Buon Tu Srah and Serepok 3 plants, said the extended drought resulted in record low water levels in the Serepok River. He said the Buon Tu Srah Dam, whose reservoir can hold 520 million cu.m of water, had just around 60 million cu.m water.

This was the lowest since the plant was inaugurated in September 2009. Inadequate water in the Buon Tu Srah Reservoir has caused downstream hydropower plants to operate perfunctorily because upstream reservoirs have to accumulate water, he said.

Khanh said the State had assigned his company to provide 1.28 billion kWh of power this year, but it has only been able to produce 480 million kWh, about 38 per cent of the year's plan.

"Compared with the same time last year, this is a record low water level. The rainy season in the Central Highlands often ends in November, but there is not enough water to operate the plants even now. With this situation, I am afraid the company will not reach 50 per cent of the target," Khanh said.

An official who works at the Buon Tu Srah Reservoir said last Friday that the dam could not accumulate enough water and the plant had to stay idle at daytime.

The Krong No River in Dak Nong Province is no longer fierce and deep as it used to be, and a drop of several dozen meters in water levels in the dam is clearly visible.

Ho Van Bay, deputy secretary of Duc Xuyen Commune's People's Committee, said water levels in streams that linked to the Krong No River were so low that people could walk to the other side.

Nguyen Van Than, director of the Dak Lak Electricity Company, predicted that the situation would worsen in the coming months.

Water levels at the Ialy Hydropower Plant on the Se San River in Gia Lai and Kon Tum Provinces have also been reported at critically low levels and output capacity of the dam is said to be at 50 per cent.

Ta Van Luan, director of Ialy Hydropower Company, said the company's production in the first eight months of this year has reached 50 per cent of that assigned by the Viet Nam Electricity Corporation. � VNS


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