HA NOI — City officials expressed concern about the city's drainage capacity following a draft plan released yesterday to cope with potential flooding during the city's millennium celebrations in October. "All-out efforts would be made to drain water into the To Lich and Nhue rivers to minimise water levels if a heavy downpour occurred during Ha Noi's 1,000th anniversary in October," said the city People's Committee Chairman Nguyen The Thao.
Even taking into account the anti-flooding measures, Thao admitted "They are merely temporary measures."
Other solutions for the city's short term water drainage problems were needed, the chairman said, while in the long-term additional and permanent solutions needed to be developed.
According to Irrigation Department Deputy General Director Nguyen Xuan Dieu, flood prevention measures are in a complete shambles despite the onset of the monsoon season and the rapidly approaching city celebrations.
Dieu warned of immeasurable consequences when repeatedly pumping large volumes of water outside the city's dike system.
Many irrigation experts said it was essential to install temporary pumping stations to drain off water and dredge rivers to encourage water flows.
But Thao also raised concerns regarding the city's pumping stations, as they currently discharge water primarily into the To Lich and Nhue rivers which run through the capital and would already be inundated. Only the Yen So pumping station drained off water to the Hong (Red) River while the raising of the Yen So pumping station's capacity to 90cu.m of water per second from a current 45cu.m would only be finished by the end of August, Thao pointed out.
Although phase 1 of the Ha Noi Drainage for Environmental Improvement project was completed five years ago the drainage capacity in the capital city remains at only 172mm per two days.
The second phase of the project will only be finished by 2013 and would raise the current drainage capacity to 310mm over two days.
A latest downpour hitting Ha Noi recently flooded streets and blocked traffic for many hours because the 130mm rainfall was condensed into three hours and far exceeded the city's limited drainage capacity. — VNS