Farmers in the central highlands province of Lam Dong are asking a hydropower company to pay compensation for damages caused by its reservoir's latest water discharge.
Dinh Ngoc Hung, vice chairman of Don Duong District's People's Committee, said between October 29 and November 2, the Da Nhim reservoir released water at 500 cubic meters per second, causing the district to suffer losses of rice, crops and livestock worth VND23 billion (US$1.18 million) in total.
Nearby Duc Trong District also incurred losses of VND1 billion ($51,308), Hung said at a meeting with farmers on Thursday.
Da Nhim reservoir is run by the Da Nhim Ham Thuan Da Mi Hydropower Company, which operates under the state-owned Electricity of Vietnam.
The company and the districts have never cooperated in releasing water from the reservoir, Hung said.
When the reservoir overflows, the company releases water, inflicting floods on the farmers; in the dry season, it closes the reservoir, and farmers lack water for production, news website VnExpress quoted him as saying.
Agreeing with Hung, Tran Duy Viet, chairman of Lam Dong Farmers' Association, said it's unfair that in the rainy season, hydropower reservoirs would discharge water for their own benefit.
Meanwhile, farmers who have sacrificed a lot of their lands for the construction of hydropower projects suffer losses and damages without being compensated.
The association, therefore, is proposing that the provincial People's Committee asks the power sector to pay compensation to affected farmers, the chairman said.
In the meantime, Nguyen Duc Hung, director of the Lam Dong Department of Justice, said if the reservoir is found releasing water illegally, the power sector has to pay compensation. However, even when it is done in accordance with laws, support to farmers should be considered, he added.
Lam Dong agencies say 57 hydropower projects are located in the province, including eight that have already been put into operation.