HCMC to spend over $20 million on reservoirs to combat flooding

By Duong Trang   December 8, 2018 | 05:00 pm PT
HCMC to spend over $20 million on reservoirs to combat flooding
Workers at the underground reservoir built by the Japanese firm Sekisui in HCMC in 2017. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Nguyen
Vietnam’s biggest city will invest VND475 billion ($20.4 million) to build seven reservoirs in an effort to deal with its chronic flooding problem.

Six underground reservoirs and one above ground are expected to hold 40,000 cubic meters of water in total.

They will go up at the districts of Go Vap, Binh Thanh, Phu Nhuan, Tan Binh and District 10.

The city will start working on the underground ones from January next year using Japanese knowhow, said Tran Vinh Tuyen, the city’s Vice Chairman.

The three biggest ones that can hold 20,000, 10,000 and 5,000 cubic meters of water each will be built in parks.

The six reservoirs will be made with polypropylene, because it is durable and easy to install, even in small areas.

Nguyen Hoang Anh Dung, deputy director of the city’s Steering Center for the Urban Flood Control Program, said the city has to choose parks for these reservoirs because of a lack of public land.

When the city finishes building the reservoirs, the surface area of the three parks will be returned, he said.

Around 95 percent of the water stored in these can be used for watering trees and firefighting, he added

Building reservoirs is one of the solutions to tackle flooding that HCMC has planned for the 2016-2020 period.

In August last year, Japanese Sekisui Chemical Co. worked with a partner in Vietnam to build the first underground reservoir in the city, in Vo Van Ngan Street, Thu Duc District.

Experts say such reservoirs can hold tens of millions of cubic meters of water, and deal with 30 percent of floodwaters in the city.

For almost two decades, regular flooding has haunted HCMC and no comprehensive solution has been found.

Torrential rains due to storm Usagi severely flooded many Saigon streets in late November. Pictured above, cars and motorbikes are stranded on the two-kilometer Phan Huy Ich Street in Tan Binh District. Many have been there since the night before.

Cars and motorbikes are stranded on the flooded Phan Huy Ich Street in Tan Binh District due to storm Usagi in late November. Many have been there since the night before. Photo by VnExpress

Without a sea change in flood-fighting efforts, the current situation will continue, experts have warned. They have also said that the drainage plans being used now are outdated.

Dung of the flood control program said in August that the city’s development plan before 1975 was designed for a population of only 2 million.

The city now is home to around 10 million, excluding migrants, but the water drainage system is yet to be upgraded.

Vu Hai, an engineer with more than 50 years of experience in water supply and drainage, said in May that for water drainage, the city is using a plan that was formulated by the Japan International Cooperation Agency in 1997-1998 and approved in 2001 (with vision until 2020).

This plan is no longer suitable as the city has so far carried out less than 30 percent of its tasks, he added.

The anti-flooding plan in vogue now was developed by the agriculture ministry and approved in 2008, but it focuses on tidal flooding and fails to take heavy rain and dam releases into consideration.

Heavy downpours lasting two days in late November following the Usagi storm had severely flooded 102 areas in the city. It has been estimated that the flooding has caused damage of more than VND200 billion ($8.6 million).

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