Deputy PM Hoang Trung Hai has told all localities to make sure their reservoirs were safe following reports that several hundred are already showing signs of degradation.
Hai said action was necessary not only for public safety, but to guarantee energy supply and water.
He told an online conference on Thursday that each reservoir could become a “water bomb”, threatening the lives of thousands of people living in lowland areas.
In the past five years, the walls of several dams have broken, including those in Ha Tinh, Hoa Binh, Ninh Thuan, Son La, Tuyen Quang, Quang Tri and Kon Tum.
In the latest case, the Ia Krel 2 hydro-power dam in central Highlands Gia Lai province collapsed in June, forcing hundreds of residents to flee.
Reports from ministries show that there are nearly 7,000 reservoirs of various kinds across the country with a total capacity of around 11 billion cubic metres.
Of these, a total of 317 with a capacity of below three million cubic metres have shown signs of degradation. In particular, 120 reservoirs needed urgent upgrading to ensure they are safe during this year’s flood season.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Hoang Van Thang said most of the reservoirs were built in 1960s.
Ministries admitted that several hydro-power reservoirs failed to meet safety regulations, including a failure to be able to handle big storms and floods, particularly small-scale hydro-power plants.
The deputy PM also instructed localities to punish companies that ignored taking safety measures. He told authorities to review reservoir planning to stop ineffective projects.
The Industry and Trade Ministry has already decided not to go ahead with with 338 hydro-power plants that were said to be unfeasible.
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