Monthly Archives: September 2013

//September

Water shortage in Vietnam’s Central Highlands could be mitigated by utilising the Yali Reservoir

An ICEM study has revealed that the drought suffered by some communities in the Central Highlands of Vietnam could be substantially avoided, if they are given access to the vast resources of the Yali Reservoir.

People living in the Central Highlands of Vietnam are increasingly facing the challenges of  drought and extreme water shortage.  Many rivers and streams, which are used for agricultural,  irrigation and domestic consumption, often completely dry out  in the dry season. Worsening droughts threaten agriculture production, which not only affects community life, but also weakens the provincial economy. 

This is a particular challenge in the Gia Lai and Kon Tum provinces – which is where the vast  Yali Reservoir is located. The Yali Reservoir is one of Vietnam’s largest, at 65 square km. Currently this reservoir supplies the hydropower dam, producing approximately 3,680 gigawatt hours (GWh) of power to the national grid system. Since commissioning in 2001, the reservoir has not been utilised by the communities of the Central Highlands. Instead, it has been solely used for the generation of electricity.

ICEM conducted a study as part of the Mekong Challenge Program on Water and Food  to assess whether water from this reservoir could be used to provide the water needs of local communities, and to analyse the  potential trade-offs in terms of energy production. The study investigated community water resource needs in the Yali catchment and found that livelihoods of communities here  – approximately 33, 200 people – rely heavily on water resources for their livelihoods. ICEM researchers considered whether the Yali Reservoir could be used to provide a steady water source for these communities, particularly in the dry season […]

By |September 24th, 2013|Mekong news, News, Vietnam news|0 Comments

Innovative use of iGIS in Kaysone Phomvihane, Lao PDR

By Jeremy Sung

ICEM’s Jeremy Sung is visiting project sites in Lao PDR, Cambodia and Vietnam as part of an ICEM study into climate change threats and vulnerabilities in provincial towns. Here, he utilizes an innovative i-phone app iGIS as a cost-effective way to achieve project objectives.

KAYSONE PHOMVIHANE, LAO PDR – 19 September 2013:  Whilst undertaking the surveys and meetings as part of the  ADB project Climate Resilience in GMS  Cities, we encountered several challenges related to bad infrastructure and climatic conditions. We also  found that current maps of the local towns are very poor and out-of-date. We realized it would be useful to tag various features of the towns using a GPS device so that we could map the key features ourselves, and hence analyse the vulnerability of key infrastructure and facilities.

igis 2Our project team only has one GPS tagging device. However, this project spans more than three towns in three different countries (Cambodia and Vietnam as well as Lao PDR). With no extra budget for equipment, the question was, how were we going to manage the demands of mapping the key infrastructure and vulnerabilities in each of our project cites?

A cost-effective answer lay in Smartphones and free software. Using our consultants’ existing Smartphones we installed the free but featured-packed iGIS software. iGIS turned our phones into a fully capable GPS tagging devices, allowing us to map and plot data points and produce shapefiles that can be used by professional GIS software packages.

Whilst visiting project sites in Kaysone Phomvihane, we plotted our location on the map using iGIS and made some short notes about our observations. Back at the […]

By |September 23rd, 2013|Blog|0 Comments
  • Jeremy in Lao - flooded road near market
  • Jeremy in Lao - broken floodgate

Community climate change concerns in Kaysone Phomvihane, Lao PDR

By Jeremy Sung

ICEM’s Jeremy Sung is visiting project sites in Lao PDR, Cambodia and Vietnam as part of an ICEM study into climate change threats and vulnerabilities in provincial towns. Here, he meets the Women’s League and finds out how climate change can exacerbate gender inequalities.

KAYSONE PHOMVIHANE, LAO PDR – 18 September 2013: It’s rainy season in Kaysone Phomvihane so we woke up to grey skies and constant drizzling. An early meeting with the project managers for ADB infrastructure investments was followed by the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DONRE). DONRE manages meteorological and hydrological data for the town and the officials here were very interested in our climate change projections.

Our next stop was the local community hall, to meet members of the Kaysone Phomvihane Women’s Union. We talked briefly about how climate change can exacerbate existing gender inequalities. We conducted a snap poll, using a show of hands. Women representing four districts complained of insufficient access to water and at least a third of the room experienced more than five blackouts per month. We also heard that the women in particular face the challenges of poor quality roads to the markets – since it’s often the women here are who are responsible for purchasing household goods. The women also described a major storm event in March this year (2013) which caused widespread devastation.

All in all, it was a fascinating session. We are looking forward to documenting the experiences of local residents during extreme climate events over the course of the project.

It was back into the field for the afternoon. We examined a storm water canal that regularly overtopped and the northern flood gate, which, like the southern gate, was now out of order. We […]

By |September 23rd, 2013|Blog|0 Comments
  • Jeremy Sung blog from Kaysone Phomivhane - fishermen outside the town
  • Jeremy Sung blog from Kaysone Phomivhane - meeting local officials
  • Jeremy Sung blog from Kaysone Phomivhane - flooded and potholed roads
  • Jeremy Sung blog from Kaysone Phomivhane - clogged drains near market

Climate change vulnerabilities in Kaysone Phomvihane, Lao PDR

ICEM's Jeremy Sung is visiting project sites in Lao PDR, Cambodia and Vietnam as part of an ICEM study into climate change threats and vulnerabilities in provincial towns. Here, he finds out how devastating poor drainage systems can be in rural towns. KAYSONE PHOMVIHANE, LAO PDR - 17 September 2013: Today we're in In Kaysone Phomvihane (Lao PDR), conducting meetings to analyse critical infrastructure and discuss climate change threats and vulnerabilities with government officials and local groups.
By |September 23rd, 2013|Blog, News|0 Comments

Getting the facts right on large hydro

by Simon Tilleard

How environmentally and socially sustainable are big dam projects? Simon Tilleard takes on the issue of large-scale hydro in his recent letter to the New Scientist.

What does “renewable power” mean to you?
Chances are, you’ll think of solar, wind and hydropower. But when it comes to large-scale hydropower, just how ‘renewable’ is this power?

I recently read an article in the New Scientist Rise of renewables starts climate-change fightback – (6 July, page 6-7) which brought home to me once again how common it is to see ‘the next generation’ of large hydropower dams held up as examples of environmentally conscious and sustainable sources of power.

In the article, authors Marshall and Aldhous indicate that large hydropower dams can help to fight back on climate change and produce ‘green power’ whilst sustainably managing environmental resources. They go on to state that a few large dams have erroneously given the sector a bad reputation and that the World Bank’s recent decision to return to funding large dams is proof of improved procedures for management.

My experience as a water resources engineer working in South East Asia brings me a different perspective. It’s abundantly clear that it’s misleading to suggest that merely a few of the older dam projects were ill-conceived and unsustainable. In reality, the negative environmental and social impacts of large dams often outweigh their economic benefits.

The 2000 independent World Commission on Dams, the most comprehensive study on dam impacts, concluded that big, complex schemes cost far more but produce less energy than expected. Examples of environmental and social impacts from large hydropower are plentiful, devastating fish losses from the Pak Mun Dam in Thailand or mass displacement caused by the Narmada Valley dams in […]

By |September 3rd, 2013|Blog, ICEM team|0 Comments