HCMC – Admitting that small-scale hydropower projects are not the main cause of landslides and floods, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has demanded that Vietnam restrict the development of such projects, especially in the Central Highlands, to protect the environment.
Speaking at a meeting on the country’s socioeconomic situation this morning, November 2, Phuc said that the main cause of the recent serious landslides in the central region were heavy rainfall and the geological structure and not hydropower projects.
“The geological structure of central provinces comprises steep mountains and clay soil, which can be easily damaged by a heavy downpour. There is no hydropower project in Tra Leng Commune, Quang Nam Province, which was hit by landslides late last month. Recent landslides in Huong Hoa District, Quang Tri Province, which killed 22 people, occurred far away from residential areas.”
Phuc said Vietnam has ample forest cover and the Government always pays special attention to forest areas. All important projects that affect the forests must be presented to the National Assembly for consideration and approval.
The Government today presented the Than River reservoir project in Ninh Thuan Province and the Ban Mong reservoir project in Nghe An Province to the National Assembly.
“The National Assembly will only approve these projects if the Government can prove that the projects affect only a small forest area and offer significant benefits to the locals and agricultural development,” Phuc said.
The prime minister also urged the development of renewable energies, which will contribute to the sustainable development of the country.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam operated 385 hydropower projects with their installed capacity totaling 18,564 MW as of late 2018, including 80 large and medium projects.
In 2017, hydropower projects contributed some 40% of the country’s total power production.