Drying river causes Hanoi water company to install emergency pumps

By Vo Hai   June 14, 2023 | 08:00 pm PT
Drying river causes Hanoi water company to install emergency pumps
Aerial view of a section of the Da River with low water levels. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Phong
A Hanoi utility that provides water to over a million people has installed pumps in the shrinking Da River to maintain supply.

The Song Da Water Investment company (Viwasupco) provides around 300,000 m3 of water a day to people living in 10 southwestern districts.

It has also had to use excavators in the last few days to clear the path for water to flow into an area in the middle of the river, where it has the emergency pumps.

The river section running through Hoa Binh Province’s Ky Son District, from where a channel takes water to the pumping station, has dried up.

The river has shrunk to a third of its normal size at this time of the year, and its water level has fallen to below three meters.

Viwasupco said it had installed makeshift pumps in 2020 when the water level fell too low, and, following forecasts of a drought this year, it installed more emergency pumps as a precaution.

It stores the water drawn using the pumps in Dam Bai Lake before processing it in its plants.

As long as the Hoa Binh hydropower dam discharges at least 214 m3 of water per second, the company can draw water from the Da River.

"But once the Hoa Binh plant does not discharge the minimum volume and the river runs dry, the pumps would have to stop working," a Viwasupco official said.

Then there would be a risk of widespread water shortages, he warned.

Pham Van Vuong, director of the Hoa Binh hydropower plant, said the inflows into the reservoir are only to 40 m3 per second, which is "virtually nothing."

"With the amount of water left in the reservoir, if the plant operates at its maximum capacity of 46-47 million kWh a day, it would no longer be safe to operate in 12-13 days. At that time no electricity will be generated."

Besides the Song Da plant, Hanoi also has the Bac Thang Long-Van Tri plant with a capacity of 150,000 m3 a day.

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