A serious power shortage is on the cards in northern Vietnam as Hoa Binh, the country’s largest hydropower station, is seeing its reservoir water levels plunge.

The water level in the Hoa Binh reservoir fell to below 80 m recently, lower than the dead level and should the water level fall to below 75 m the plant will have to cease operation. However, some 200 m3 per second flows into the reservoir that has allowed perhaps half of the eight turbines at the plant to operate.

Nonetheless, only rains in upper reaches can improve the situation and the region is seeing electricity demand rise at 30% year on year. In an attempt to bolster power supplies during the dry season, the government has ordered a 50% cut in public lighting but restrictions are likely to remain in force until reservoir levels have significantly improved allowing all of the turbines to function.