Hydropower: Voices from Communities

“Hydropower – Voices from Communities” is a photovoice reflection from the communities affected by hydropower projects in the Highlands of Vietnam

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To develop hydropower plants in the Highlands region, thousands of households were relocated for resettlement. After many years of relocation, most of the households here have said that their new lives are more difficult than in their old homes, in particular because of livelihood and the environment.

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Dead fish because of water pollution on the Ta Trach reservoir (Thua Thien Hue province)

“Since the hydropower dams, valuable fish species such as Chinh output fell 90 percent, Lau decreased 90 percent, Sao decreased 90 percent and some species disappeared such as Bin and Bop.” Ms Phan Thi Qua – Research group for indigenous knowledge (RGIK) in Ben Van (Thua Thien Hue province).

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Lack of land, forests are destroyed (Photo in A Luoi hydropower dam, Thua Thien Hue province).

Since the relocation to new resettlement areas, stock breeding activities have been reduced more than before. The number of cows in each herd had to be reduced due to lack of land, the settlement houses are ‘hot in the summer and wet in the winter’, some of the civil equipment is still not guaranteed to meet the daily needs of the people, and people are helpless to protect their property due to the lack of information about the dam’s storage and water discharge.

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Life of the river is destroyed (Dai Hong commune, dai Loc district, Quang Nam province)

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Besides their schooling, two sisters, H-Rich (13 years old) and H-Trang (12 years old) must work to help their parents

The impacts that hydropower dams bring to communities cause the people to constantly call for the support of the authorities to address their difficulties. However, these requests for help have not been satisfactorily resolved. Instead of investing in hydropower, Vietnam should focus on energy sources such as wind and solar power to minimize the impact on people’s lives.

Affected communities from hydropower in this region include: community in Ben Van (Phu Loc district), Duong Hoa commune (Huong Thuy town), A Luoi district in Thua Thien Hue province, Nuoc Lang village (Phuoc Xuan commune), Thon 2 (Phuoc Hoa commune), Dai Hong commune (Dai Loc district) in Quang Nam province, Ea Tung village and Buon Drai (Ea Na commune) in Dak Lak province and Quang Binh province.

The Centre for Social Research and Development (CSRD) worked together with the communities to develop this collection of photovoices. The voices of these communities reflect the impacts on the environment and on society that hydropower projects bring to the region. See the original post here and find more of the photovoice stories here.

Story by: Thanh Tam

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