ADB wades in to rescue Ho Chi Minh City's flood prevention efforts

By Huu Nguyen   March 29, 2018 | 12:19 am PT
ADB wades in to rescue Ho Chi Minh City's flood prevention efforts
Slum houses along a dark canal in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
Millions of residents stand to benefit if projects to deal with severe wastewater are restarted.

The Asian Development Bank is willing to invest in renovation work on Ho Chi Minh City's drainage and sewer system, hopefully giving millions of people a cleaner environment, according to the city's flood control unit.

The bank has suggested prioritizing the completion of the sewer system around the Tham Luong – Ben Cat canal, an area known for its heavy pollution, during the first phase of investment in 2019.

An estimated $350 million will be needed to upgrade the system with storm and tidal drains and rainwater and wastewater collection facilities, HCMC's Steering Center for Urban Flood Control said.

The center has asked the city to respond to the ADB as soon as possible, and instruct related offices to prepare the necessary documents for the funding to be made available.

Last year, Ho Chi Minh City borrowed $400 million from the World Bank to deal with severe flooding in the city, including dredging more than 30 kilometers or nearly 19 miles of Tham Luong - Ben Cat Canal. However, due to compensation and site clearance conflicts, authorities decided to scrap the project, leaving the flood prevention system incomplete.

The Tham Luong – Ben Cat canal project is expected to improve the lives of two million people living across eight districts.

Other constructions under the ADB support include a canal that will carry wastewater away from Tan Son Nhat International Airport, and a sewer system for a wastewater treatment plant that was completed last October but has yet to be put into operation.

The city plans to build at least seven new wastewater treatment plants from now until 2020 to deal with its rapidly rising population, which has reached 13 million.

Ho Chi Minh City is vulnerable to flooding, and many of its streets are transformed into small rivers almost every time it pours or the tide rises.

According to local media, the city will need up to VND97.3 trillion ($4.38 billion) for flood prevention projects in the next three years.

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