New lock saves Can Tho from chronic flooding

By An Binh   November 1, 2023 | 01:52 am PT
Though it is not yet completed, a lock has prevented floodwaters from intruding Can Tho City when tides rose as high as 2.15 m.

Cai Khe Lock, which is now 70% completed, was put into operation on a trial basis on Tuesday afternoon.

When the test was conducted, the tides on the Can Tho River, a branch of the Hau River, a main tributary of the Mekong in Vietnam, were measured at 2.15 m, which is 15 cm higher than the alert level.

With the lock put into use, a series of inner-city streets are all safe from flooding.

Such streets being freed from floods is considered "strange" by locals there because for several years now, every time it comes to high tides, the inner area of Can Tho would be flooded by around half a meter on average.

Bui Thai Thuong, director of the official development assistance (ODA) Project Management Board in Can Tho City, said: "We can say for now, all areas usually flooded due to high tides have been safe thanks to the lock."

Work started on the lock in September last year and set for completion late this year.

Costing VND9.2 trillion of ODA fund, the lock has four valves.

The three main valves weigh 35 tons, and measure 20 m wide and 6 m high, each. The remaining one weighs five tons and spreads 5 m high.

The lock belongs to a project to develop Can Tho City and improve its adaptability the government approved in 2016.

The project aims to control floods for 2,700 hectares of Can Tho’s downtown area, protecting more than 420,000 people.

The entire project comprises of three phases and set to be completed by mid-2024.

Other items of the project include sewage systems and pumping stations.

Âu thuyền Cái Khế được xâu dưng tại rạch Khai Luông, quận Ninh Kiều. Ảnh: An Bình

Cai Khe Lock on Can Tho River. Photo by VnExpress/An Binh

Can Tho covers 1,140 square kilometers, with a population of 1.2 million.

More than half the city has often suffered from flooding during heavy rains and high tides, especially the downtown area.

The Research Institute for Climate Change under Can Tho University has stated that Can Tho is subsiding by two to three centimeters a year. Among the reasons are the exploitation of groundwater and rapid urbanization.

In Ho Chi Minh City, the same project that costs VND10 trillion to protect 6.5 million people from urban flooding has dragged on since 2016.

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