The province of Tay Ninh has just approved a project to build an international film studio complex on Nhim (Porcupine) island at the Dau Tieng Reservoir, a plan that has raised eyebrows among local irrigation experts and scientists who say the project might pollute the area.
According to Tran Huu Hau, director of the province's Investment, Trade, and Tourism Promotion Center, the project will be invested by An Vien Group (AVG), the investor of the first and most advanced network control center in Southeast Asia.
Accordingly, AVG has carried out a survey at the 270-square-kilometer reservoir that is home to several half-flooded areas and islands, including the 350-ha Nhim island, and drawn up a design.
The company is waiting for approval from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the administrator of Dau Tieng Reservoir, whose function is to provide water for Ho Chi Minh City and the provinces of Tay Ninh, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc and Long An.
According to the project proposed by AVG, the island will include three distinguished areas, including two film production centers of 119 hectares and 108 hectares each, as well as an ecotourism area.
The film studio will also include a three-hectare-wide wharf to receive visitors from the lakeshore to the island.
According to Hau, to prevent pollution, the project will have its own water supply as well as waste water treatment systems, and green trees planted around the island.
However, local irrigation scientists think differently and say there is reason to worry about the water system within the reservoir.
According to Nguyen Truong Xuan, president of HCMC Irrigation Management Company, thousands of hectares of Tan Bien area in Tay Ninh and Long An provinces will soon need more water from Dau Tieng Reservoir for irrigation, for which HCMC plans to dam the lakeshore two meters higher.
As a result, the water surface will be higher than the foundation of the studio and inundate the site, according to Xuan. He also said waste from the site would be a problem in general. "The waste from the studio together the current pollution in the site will worsen the pollution here."
Professor Nguyen An Nien, president of HCMC Water Resources Association, said Dau Tieng Reservoir is an interprovincial irrigation system and affects the safety and well being of many people.
"If the site has problem, then its one billion cubic meters of water could cause a disaster, especially to the city," he said. "So the association should ask the ministry to consider the project's unreasonable aspects before approving it."