Saigon signs $608,000 pump rental deal for flood prone street

By Huu Nguyen   May 12, 2019 | 10:21 pm GMT+7
Saigon signs $608,000 pump rental deal for flood prone street
Students wade through the heavily flooded Nguyen Huu Canh Street after downpour, May 7, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa
HCMC has signed a rental deal with a private company to install a water pump on Nguyen Huu Canh Street to prevent flooding.

HCMC, a city of 13 million, has been suffering flooding due to high tides and heavy rains for more than two decades now, with scenes of people getting stuck or wading in deep waters becoming common.

Under the new deal, the city will pay Quang Trung Industry Group Joint Stock Company VND14.2 billion ($608,400) a year but only if the pump proves effective. The pump will have a capacity of 97,000 metric meters per hour.

Nguyen Huu Canh Street, which links Binh Thanh District with the central District 1 and District 2, is one of the most flood prone streets in HCMC.

The company initially wanted an annual rent of VND24.4 billion ($1 million) to flood-proof a 75-hectare area for seven years, but the city rejected the demand.

This is not Quang Trung Company’s first deal with HCMC. It installed a large anti-flood system on Nguyen Huu Canh Street in September 2017, and it was assessed by the city as "basically effective" in reducing flooding.

The Centre for Flood Control said the street was still flooded six out of 23 times the system was operated.

Nguyen Tang Cuong, the project contractor, said the reasons for the failure included the sewage system being blocked by garbage. Intriguingly, he also did not rule out sabotage.

The city has been particularly keen on preventing flooding on Nguyen Huu Canh Street and has approved its comprehensive renovation at a cost of VND473 billion ($20.4 million).

But it will take time for procedures to be completed and the work to start, and might not be completed before the 2020 rainy season.

Last month the city also firmed up plans for 218 works to combat flooding in downtown areas and parts of the outskirts at a cost of VND8 trillion ($342 million).

They include an upgrade to the drainage network, digging of ponds and work on flood-prone streets in Districts 1, 7, Tan Phu, Tan Binh, Thu Duc, and Go Vap.

The city will use its resources and seek public-private partnerships for funding.

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