Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

Da Nang (VNA) - It is necessary to build dedicated hydro-meteorological networks in large reservoirs and install systems for monitoring reservoirs’ operation  in order to better ensure  dam safety, said Le Van Duong from the General Department of Irrigation under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

Speaking at a recent conference on natural disaster prevention in the Central and Central Highlands regions held in the central city of Da Nang, Duong underlined the urgent need to construct monitoring stations for forecasting the real-time operation of reservoirs in steep rivers where floods usually rise suddenly.

He noted that guidelines for the development of reservoir operation procedures have not yet met the actual operation of reservoirs.

The assessment of dam safety, the making of plans on flood prevention for downstream areas, and the setting up of corridors to protect reservoirs require substantial funding, beyond the affordability of dam and reservoir management units, he added.

Attention should also be paid to personal training in this field, promoting dissemination of legal regulations on dam safety, and raising public awareness and response, Duong said.

According to the General Department of Irrigation, around 12 trillion VND (516.3 million USD) has been spent on upgrading and repairing 633 reservoirs nationwide. However, there are still 1,200 seriously damaged others that need repair.

The department recommended more investment in improving the flood resistance of large reservoirs in line with international standards.

Priority should be given to repairing seriously degraded small reservoirs which have low capacity to discharge floodwater by using official development assistance (ODA) capital resources, and the central and local budgets, the department said.

As many as 450 reservoirs have been included in the list of those which will be repaired under a project to improve dam safety (WB8) with a total investment of 433 million USD.

The MARD has also proposed the Prime Minister support 19 provinces in the Central and Central Highlands in repairing and upgrading 47 reservoirs at a total cost of 287 billion VND.

According to statistics from the General Department of Irrigation, the Central and Central Highlands regions have 3,551 irrigation reservoirs, accounting for 53.4 percent of the country’s total number.

Localities having the most reservoirs are Thanh Hoa with 610; Nghe An, 629 and Dak Lak, 543.

The regions have 693 degraded reservoirs, or 58 percent of the country’s figure. Many of them, especially small ones, are not capable of resisting floods in line with current standards.

They witnessed 38 dam and reservoir-related incidents out of 50 cases nationwide in the last decade, accounting for 76 percent.

In 2017, heavy rains caused 16 dam and reservoir breakdowns in the regions.-VNA