Can Tho flood-prevention work could see $193-mln hike in price tag

By Cuu Long   April 2, 2021 | 11:00 pm PT
Can Tho flood-prevention work could see $193-mln hike in price tag
An area along the Can Tho River where an embankment is supposed to be built as part of the city's anti-flooding project, March 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Cuu Long.
An anti-flooding project in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho could cost much more than originally estimated.

The work of over $340 million is meant to safeguard nearly 2,700 hectares in downtown Ninh Kieu and Binh Thuy districts from flooding.

Besides building embankments along major rivers and waterways, pumping stations, reservoirs, and sewer systems, the project will also renovate the traffic system by building new streets and bridges and upgrading existing ones.

The funding includes $250 million from the World Bank, $10 million in non-refundable grants from the Swiss Economic Cooperation and VND1.917 trillion ($83 million) from Can Tho’s coffers.

The work is scheduled to be completed in June next year.

However, the Can Tho Official Development Assistance Project Management Board said work has been carried out on only 31 out of 46 contract packages and all 46 are behind schedule.

It blamed the delays on land acquisition and resettlement of evictees, the Covid-19 outbreak and changes in the project design.

More and more people have built house in areas earmarked for the project, it said.

The city’s outlay for those problems would increase the project cost by VND4.454 trillion ($193.47 million) to VND6.37 trillion, it said. They include acquiring land for resettling affected people and compensation for existing infrastructure works, it said, adding that compensation rates have increased over time.

To avoid the increase, it suggested removing some components from the plan, including two canals, two reservoirs, a park, and an embankment.

It also proposed adding two pumping stations and work to raise the level of a street.

With these changes, the cost would come down by VND3.4 trillion, it estimated.

The city administration has instructed the construction and planning-investment departments to review the project and consider the suggestions to come up with a solution.

Can Tho has an area of 1,140 square kilometers and a population of 1.2 million.

For long more than half the city has been suffering from flooding during heavy rains and high tides, with many downtown streets submerging under 0.2-0.6 meters of water.

Rising sea levels caused by climate change, rapid urbanization with too many buildings and infrastructure works built in a short period of time and overexploitation of groundwater are blamed for it.

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