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Ho Chi Minh City allocates $500mln to fight floods

April 11, 2016 | 11:15 pm PT
Ho Chi Minh City will allocate an estimated VND11.61 trillion ($520 million) for 84 projects over the next five years to step up the fight against floods, said municipal officials at a workshop last Friday.

The funds will be used to dredge and upgrading the Tham Luong - Ben Cat and Rach Nuoc Len Canal, which is expected to help drain water off around 14,500 hectares.

Part of the funds will be used to dredge the 8.2 km Xuyen Tam Rivulet, build eight sluices to control tides and flooding and construct 20 kilometers of dykes along risk-high sections of the Saigon River.

Upgrades to the city's four main sewers are also an important part of the city’s flood control program.

Even though southern Vietnamese provinces are experiencing the worst drought and salinity in a century, flooding in Ho Chi Minh City has emerged as one of the most pressing issues in recent years, said experts at the workshop, due mainly to rising sea levels, land subsidence and urban drainage.

According to the Geoinformatics Center at the National University of Ho Chi Minh City, over the past 10 years, many areas of HCM City have been sunk by 20-30 centimeters.

“The city has built water drainage systems that meet only 40 percent of the requirements,” said Do Tan Long, head of the Steering Centre for the Urban Flood Control Programme.

Long said the city should develop a master plan for the construction of a water drainage system, reservoirs and anti-flood irrigation systems.

“Rapid urbanization has led to the loss of thousands of hectares of natural reservoirs. Leveling canals, rivulets and ponds to build houses (especially in the southern area of the city) is too common,” said Professor Nguyen Minh Hoa.

Over the past 10 years, 49 canals with a total area of 16.4 hectares have vanished, while Binh Tien Lake covering 7.4 hectares, an important reservoir for the city, together with many other ponds and lakes, have been leveled. From 2002-2009, the ability to contain water in the city's ponds, lakes and wetlands has dropped almost tenfold.

The city should cooperate with the nearby provinces of Dong Nai and Long An to ensure the effectiveness of anti-flood efforts, said Bui Viet Hung from the Ho Chi Minh City National University.

“Construction projects that have leveled a considerable part of Long An’s Soai Rap River have also affected water levels in the Saigon River at peak tide. The current measures to construct sluices to control tides will not resolve the flooding problem,” Hung said.

Source: VietnamPlus

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