Dau Tieng lake open for longest water release to save Ho Chi Minh City

By Duy Tran, Van Pham   April 10, 2016 | 06:25 am PT
Dau Tieng lake open for longest water release to save Ho Chi Minh City
Dau Tieng lake. Photo:Tay Ninh newspaper
The ten-day water release by Dau Tieng lake, longest since beginning of the year, is an attempt to push back saline intrusion in Saigon and Vam Co rivers.

On April 9, Dau Tieng - Phuoc Hoa Water Resource Exploitation Company said that they were releasing water into Saigon River for the 7th time to push back saline intrusion. The release is to last ten days, starting from April 4. It peaked at 40m3/s from April 6 to April 10. For the remaining days, the release stands at 20m3/s.

The release is an attempt to save the downstream area of Saigon River affected by saline intrusion as well as to meet Tan Hiep Waterworks’ request for 7th and 8th releases of unprocessed water. The waterworks have experienced from several delays since the beginning of the year due to high salinity in Saigon River, at up to 600 mg/l, according to multiple samples, compared to the standard 250 mg/l.

At the moment, water level at Dau Tieng lake stands at 19 meters and 700 million cubic meter capacity. Meanwhile, the year-on level was 21.2 meters and 980 million cubic meters capacity. Due to this year’s low water availability, the Dau Tieng - Phuoc Hoa lake system was able to reserve only 70 percent to 80 percent of previous years’ capacities. The lake can only release 250 million cubic meters more before reaching dead-pool level.

Saigon Water Corporation (Sawaco) has recently proposed to Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee to build a reservoir with 1.35 million cubic meter capacity, totaling an area of 23 hectares, in Cu Chi district in the 2016-2017 period.

According to Sawaco, the city lacks unprocessed water and spare water processing facilities. Therefore, a large-scale reservoir will guarantee the supply of water for Tan Hiep Waterworks to work non-stop during a 1 to 3 day period of saline intrusion and pollution in Saigon River.

Salinity in Sai Gon – Dong Nai River has been on the rise, impeding Ho Chi Minh City’s water supply. Prolonged El Nino has resulted in very little rain in the South. In addition, high tides lasting until March pushed salinity deep into the estuary.

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