A serious power shortage is on the cards in northern Vietnam as water levels in Hoa Binh, the country's largest hydro power station, fell below the dead storage level.

Water in the Hoa Binh reservoir dropped to the 79.25m mark on 23 May , 0.75m lower than the dead level. Should the water level fall to below 75m, the plant will have to cease operation.

Although some 200m3/sec is currently flowing into the reservoir – allowing half of the plant’s eight turbines to operate – only rains in upper reaches can improve the situation.

Currently, demands for electricity in this region are increasing by 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 Hoa Binh turbines to function.