by Nguyen Thi Da Thao

Krong No River, which associates with many legends of ethnic minority communities in the Central Highlands of Vietnam – recently – has become deformation because of the sudden change flow.

“Owning land … only on certificate, while the land was swept away”.

At Buon Choah commune, the illegal sand exploitation has contributed to change the water flow and the erosion of the Krong No riverbanks. On over a length of the Krong No River in Buon Choah commune, there are hundreds of households whose land was lost because of illegal sand exploitation with a total area of about 80 ha.


Picture 1: Illegal sand exploitation

A sad reality in recent years is that local people have to sell their land for illegal sand exploiters – “sand robbers”. Mr. Thinh, Vice President of Buon Choah people committee confirmed that most of these land areas belong to people in the 1 hamlet – where the majority of living and production areas located on the bank of Krong No River. Many farmers, who sold their land for “sand robbers”, explained that they had to sell to earn some money, because if it sold or not, the entire area along the river also eroded. This illegal activity made some deep hooks under the channel and the river encroached kilometers of two sides of riverbank. The sale of land to “sand robbers” was illegal but reluctant and because the local government cannot control it.


Picture 2: Buon Tua Srah Hydropower

In addition, since late 2009, Buon Tua Srah Hydropower has run for power generation, water flow in downstream of Krong No river has discharged many times higher than normal, it has caused flooding and soil erosion in a big area of agricultural land along river bank – much of the erosion land is fertile and very high productivity where the local people cultivate corn, rice and beans annually.

Consequently, there are 3-4 ha of agricultural land along the Krong No River at Buon Choah commune was lost annually; rice production was severely reduced, especially in dry season and this lead to food insecurity, At present, there are hundreds of household, whose agricultural land allocated along of river bank, only own their land on the land certificate, most of land area were disappeared.

The grandeur of Krong No is ended, but the story of the river rage and the damage is still continuing.


Picture 3: Continuing illegal sand exploitation 

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