Red River basin, and the conflicts between hydropower and other sectors in the context of drought

Red River basin,  and  the conflicts between  hydropower and other sectors in the context of  drought

Red River basin, and the conflicts between hydropower and other sectors in the context of drought

14:09 - 15/03/2018

RESEARCH ON THE SCIENTIFIC AND PRACTICAL BASIS TO HARMONISE WATER ALLOCATION WITH WATER TREATMENT FOR IRRIGATION SYSTEMS IN THE RED RIVER DELTA
Community based water quality monitoring: a multi-benefit approach to water governance in the Red river basin, Vietnam
Small-scale irrigation – effective solution for sloping land areas
Assessment of climate change impacts on river flow regimes to support decision-making in water resources management in The Red River Delta, Vietnam – A case study of Nhue-Day River Basin
Impact of existing water fee policy in the Red River Basin, Vietnam

Red-River basin (RRB) is the second largest basin in Vietnam (second to Mekong river
basin), locating in the ranges of 100°06’-106°35' East longitude and 200 00’-25o 27’ North latitude.
The system originates from Van Nam, China territory, nm about 1100 km before pours to East Sea
at 9 river mouths in Red-River Delta (RRD) in Vietnam. The total area of basin is 149,760 km², of
WhiCh, Chinese pa

Red-River basin (RRB) is the second largest basin in Vietnam (second to Mekong river
basin), locating in the ranges of 100°06’-106°35' East longitude and 200 00’-25o 27’ North latitude.
The system originates from Van Nam, China territory, nm about 1100 km before pours to East Sea
at 9 river mouths in Red-River Delta (RRD) in Vietnam. The total area of basin is 149,760 km², of
WhiCh, Chinese part accounts for 50 %, Vietnam 49.3 % and a small part of Lao 0.7 %. Within
Vietnamese territory, the basin consists of 25 provinces/cities, With a population of 32 M person in
2014, 1.8 M ha of agricultural land. In WhiCh, RRD is the second largest rice granary, producing
about an annual yield of 6.7 M ton and Hanoi capital stays at the heart of the region (Figure 1).

The climate in Vietnam part is characterized of monsoon conditions, With the annual
temperature spatially varies from 14 to 24 0C, humidity 80 + 87 %, Windspeed 0.8 + 4 m/s,
evaporation (Piche measurement) 500 mm + 1000 mm. As for rainfall, in Chinese part, the annual
rainfall varies from 600 to 3000 mm, coming down to Vietnamese part, it ranges 1.100 + 5.000
mm. By calculation, total annual rainfall resources is 238.69 km3 and Vietnamese amount makes
up to 57.82 % [1]. However, due to the fact of highly uneven rainfall distribution Within a year,
fiood season usually occurring in the period of May — Oct, has up to 70 + 87 % of total annual fiow
volume (121.8 km3), the left falls in the dry season of Nov- April, and the minimum consecutive-
three-month period is only 8 % that ussually occures in Jan — March or Feb- April.

Figure 1. Red river basin and reservoir

Country hydropower development
Vietnam possesses a rapid developing economy that requires high demand of energy. With
dense river network and favorable terrain and rainfall conditions, total hydro power potential of the
Whole nation is theoretically estimated as 35.000 MW, in WhiCh, the RRB keep a part of 60 %.
During recent years, hydropower have been invested largely. Up to 2015, hydropower source has 
been built up to 46.22 % (Figure 2), of WhiCh, RRS supplies about 8005 MW as 51 % of
hydropower. In overall, hydropower plays a Vital part in energy security and RRS keep the most
important role among 13 major basins of Vietnam.

At the end of 2015, in RRB, there are about 12 major and medium hydropower plants that
have been in operation. By their active storage and power capacity among those, 6 hydro powers
are considered the most important as Ban Chat, Lai Chau Son La, Hoa Binh, Thao Ba and Tuyen
Quang. Among them, 2 largest reservoirs are Hoa Binh and Son La With about 6 + 6.5 Bil cbm of
active storage, and both of them stays on Da river basin. Two smaller as Thao Ba and Tuyen Quang
staying in Lo-Gam river basin With 1.5 and 1.5 Bil cbm, however, together With Hoa Binh, they
keep the role of directly supplying water for RRD (Figure 1).

Drought and water conflict impacts
Since 1998, there have been about 9 drought events with higher frequency and intensity as
1998-1999, 2003-2004, 2004-2005, 2005-2006, 2006-2007, 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011
and 2014 – 2016. Among them, 2009-2010 has been
considered most serve when the minimum dry-season water level of Ha Noi station went down to
the historical-100-year value of 0.001 m, the river
bottomed up, deep salt-water intrusion, agriculture
and other sectors affected, especially navigation
completely shut down.


There are several reasons as follows:
- Climate Change (CC) and Sea Level Rising (SLR): The calculation based on CC & SLR
published by Vietnam government indicate due to changes of rainfall and temperature, the average
flow will decrease in both dry and flood season by 6.7 ÷ 11.8 % and 8.1 ÷ 13.24 % respectively.
The changes of extreme-event frequency and intensity such as drought is qualitatively expected to
be increased, however, the quantification has been unknown [3].
- Information of upstream activities in Chinese part is limited: Currently, China has built
tens of hydropower reservoirs and barrages, however, the details about their designs and operation
is restricted. The operation of those works has changed the hydrological pattern in Vietnam, the
dry season usually comes earlier, and during the hottest and driest period, there has been the signs
of interruption in operation [4].
- Water demands is increased significantly by the changes of river morphologies: In RRD,
agriculture has been a most water user in RRD compared to the others with 60 – 70 % of total water
demand with two main rice seasons as Spring (Nov – June) and Summer (June –Nov), in which
the former stays in the dry season and need higher water demands, especially in the time of
transplanting period (Figure 6). During these times, water are mostly carried to the users by a vast
irrigation system through its headworks locating on the main streams, water is not only for
agriculture but also for the others. Before 2003, when the river had not been highly eroded, in order
to have the water level of threshold 2.2 m, it needs about 860 m3/s but now 1,450 m3/s or even
more. Since then, 3 main reservoirs as Hoa Binh, Thac Ba and Tuyen Quang had to focus their
releases on about 15 days of transplanting period of spring rice season to raise enough water level
for the intakes operation, however statistics of 2010-2014 shows that the release has doubled
whereas spring cropping area is still the same (Table 2)

- Role of RRB reservoir system in national energy security and water conflicts: Currently,
RRB system provides about 8008 MW as 24 % of total
power supply. During the drought year, it does not only
ensure the demand of the North but also generated
power being transmitted to the Centre and the South
where the sources are more limited. Besides, the pattern
of national electricity consumption indicates that the
period of May-July is usually the time with highest
demand (Figure 8),

as can be naturally explained by this
is the hottest during the year, so that reservoirs will try
to save the water storage from the end of flood season
(Oct) through the dry season time of Nov to April when
the demand is low because of the winter. However, this saving time coincides with the transplanting
period of spring-rice season. Therefore, during the event of 2009 -2010, after Spring release, the
reservoirs nearly shut down and consequently significant impacts as indicated above. Furthermore,
the variation of electricity demand within a day (Figure 7)

 that create an interruption of river flow
also causes more consequences to the environment
and other users downstream (Figure 4,Figure 5)
In conclusion, RRB plays a key role in a sustainable
development of Vietnam in terms of the triangle
among water, energy and food security. The impacts
of drought during the past years are significant and
will be more intensified during the coming year. The
nexus of them shows us a holistic way to minimize
those impacts. However, due to those phenomenon
have just happened, the detailed studies about them
are currently poor. Therefore, before coming up with any actions, we need studies on enriching the
analysis of “what and how are causes of drought and water conflicts?” and in what way, the current
institution deals with these crisis. Based on that, policies might be developed that harmonized the
development and operation of major reservoirs, resolve the conflicts between hydropower and
downstream water supply and set the basis for real-time operation in RRB.

 -References
[1] X. T. Tran, T. M. Hoang, T. Tran, T. H. Tran and D. K. Nguyen, Water resources of major
river system in Vietnam, Hanoi, 2012.
[2] Electricity of Viet Nam Corporation (EVN), "Viet Nam electricity annual report," Ha Noi,
2015.
[3] Institute for Water Resources Planning, "Irrigation and drainage planning in Red river delta in
the context of Cliamte Change and Sea Level Rising," Ha Noi, 2012.
[4] B. N. Sach, "Research on operation guidlines of muitl-reservoir system of Son La, Hoa Binh,
Thac Ba and Tuyen Quang during dry season," Ha Noi, 2014.
[5] "Electricity planning period 2010-2020 and vision to 2030," Ha Noi, 2011