Northern Vietnam may need 5-7 water dams to tackle drought, say scientists

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A shallow section of the Red River in Lao Cai Province. Photo: Minh Sang A shallow section of the Red River in Lao Cai Province. Photo: Minh Sang

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A group of scientists has proposed building a network of between five and seven dams on the Red River to store and supply water for Vietnam's northern region. 
The group is studying water shortages in the region and believes that water dams can help the provinces survive dry seasons, which have become very intense the past few years. 
“Unlike hydropower dams whose main task is to generate power, these dams will regulate water flows, especially during the dry season,” Tien Phong newspaper quoted Tran Dinh Hoa, deputy director of the Vietnam Academy of Water Resources, as saying.
Hoa is leading the group of scientists, whose Red River Delta study is expected to be completed in 2018.
“We are still in the first phase of research and will organize many seminars with experts to discuss sustainable management of water resources to deal with climate change,” he said.
The group has proposed five to seven dams downstream of the Hoa Binh Hydropower Dam.
Hoa said around 5 trillion liters of water is discharged for power generation in Vietnam every year. "But the agriculture sector only harnesses 20 percent of the amount while the rest is sent straight into the sea,” he said.
The Red River originates in China’s Yunnan Province and flows 1,149 kilometers into the Beibu Gulf in Vietnam’s East Sea. The 510-kilometer section in Vietnam flows through many cities and provinces, including Hanoi.
Many sections of the Red River often dried out during dry seasons in the past decade.
There has also been less silt while overexploitation of sand and pollution have also damaged the river. 

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