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Hoa Binh Hydropower Dam, Vietnam


The Hoa Binh hydropower project was constructed in Vietnam's Hoa Binh Province on the Black (Da) River between 1979 and April 1994 and financed by the former Soviet Union at the cost of an estimated US$1.5 billion to US$2 billion. The dam sits at 734m wide and 128m high and its eight turbines have a production capacity of 1920 MW.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Hoa Binh Hydropower Dam, Vietnam
State or province:Hoa Binh Province, Da River
Location of conflict:Hoa Binh
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Intensive food production (monoculture and livestock)
Water access rights and entitlements
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Aquaculture and fisheries
Water treatment and access to sanitation (access to sewage)
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

1,920 MW

Project area:11,000
Level of Investment for the conflictive project$1.5 Billion - $2 Billion
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:58,000
Start of the conflict:11/1979
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Forestry, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Agriculture
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Commission for Social Sciences
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Local NGOs, International NGOs, International scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Waste overflow, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Malnutrition
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..)
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Institutional changes
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:An environmental impact assessment was not completed for the project; the only assessments were unofficial documents.
There was poor planning and a lack of foresight into conditions necessary for successful agriculture for resettled people. Where people received land compensation, soil fertility was poor and arable land was very limited.
During project construction there were no environmental laws to protect resources and livelihoods dependent on them.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

1991 Law on Forest Protection and Development

1992 Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (only considered once project was mostly completed and already partially operational)

1993 Law of Land and Territory

1987 Land Law

1993 Land Law of Vietnam (only considered once project was mostly completed and already partially operational)

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Nguyen, Quang Tuyen (2010). Land Law Reforms in Vietnam “ Past & Present. Working Paper Series No. 015. Asian Law Institute.

Doberstein, Brent (2003). EIA models and capacity building in Viet Nam: an analysis of development aid programs. Environmental Impact Assessment Review. Elsevier Inc. 24(2004) 283-318

Cao Thi Thu Yen (2003). Towards Sustainability of Vietnam's Large Dams: Resettlement in Hydropower Projects. Master of Science Thesis, Department of Infrastructure, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm.

Nga Dao (2011) Damming Rivers in Vietnam: A Lesson Learned in the Tay Bac Region. Journal of Vietnamese Studies, Vol. 6, Issue 2, pp 106-140.

Nga Dao (2010) Dam Development in Vietnam: The Evolution of Dam-Induced Resettlement Policy Water Alternatives, Vol. 3, Issue 2, pp 324-340

Nga Dao Thi Viet (2012) Resettlement, Displacement and Agrarian Change in Northern Uplands of Vietnam. PhD Dissertation Graduate Program in Geography. York University. Toronto, Ontario.

Hirsch, Philip (1992). Social and Environmental Implications of Resource Development in Vietnam: The Case of Hoa Binh Reservoir. Research Institute for Asia and the Pacific, University of Sydney & Institute of Science Management, Hanoi.

Dang Quang Tinh (n.d.). Participatory Planning and Management for Flood Mitigation and Preparedness and Trends in the Red River Basin, Viet Nam. Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Long, Le Thanh (2001). Vietnamese Water Resources Legislation and Legal Regulation of Dams: Viewed Through the World Commission on Dams' Suggested Policy Framework. American University International Law Review. Vol. 16, Issue 6, Article 9, pp 1631-1694

Pham, Anh Huyen (2010). Evaluation of Socio-Economic Impact Assessment in Power Sector Projects in Vietnam. School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich. Masters Dissertation.

Bogachenko, P.T., Godunov, B.I., & Ne, Thai Phunc (1985). Characteristics of the First Stage of Constructing the Hoa Binh Dam in Vietnam. Plenum Publishing Corporation. Foreign Experience and Techniques.

Nguyen, Ang Tuan (2012). A Case Study on Power Sector Restructuring in Vietnam. Pacific Energy Summit. Hanoi, Vietnam

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Vietnam National Committee on Large Dams and Water Resources Development:
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Carl Middleton, Sarah Allen, Matilde Sgotto
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:182
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