Dams, touted as tools to manage floods efficiently before they are built, have consistently worsened flooding situations across Vietnam, and are now being blamed again for causing havoc.
As heavy rains punished the central region, the discharge of water from dams has made water levels in local rivers rise very high and caused no end of trouble for residents.
In Thua Thien-Hue Province, two reservoirs of the Binh Dien and Huong Dien hydropower plants, the biggest in the province, were opened on November 5, causing floods which submerged more than 4,000 houses.
As soon as the waters were discharged, water levels on Huong and Bo rivers in the province rose to alarming levels.
Thousands of houses in lowlands were submerged 0.5-1 meters under water. In Hue Town, all the roads were submerged 0.5 meters under water, causing traffic gridlocks.
On November 6, the Song Tranh II Hydropower Plant in Quang Nam Province released water from its swelling reservoirs, causing floods and landslides in Nam Tra My and Bac Tra My districts.
The same day, the Ba Ha River Hydropower Joint Stock Company in Phu Yen Province released water from the Ba
Ha River and Hinh River reservoirs.
Local residents complained that the company only gave a two hour notice before the discharge, causing severe property damage for those living in low lying areas.
They said that on July 31, 2011, the company had discharged flood waters from the Ba Ha River reservoir without informing the residents. As a result, many farmers had their properties swept away by flood waters. Nguyen Kim Hung, a 65-year-old farmer, narrowly escaped death.