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Rising tides elude HCM City drainage solution

Update: October, 04/2007 - 00:00

Rising tides elude HCM City drainage solution

(05-10-2007)

Flood water inundates District 2 in HCM City causing traffic mayhem and making life miserable for city dwellers. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Phan

HCM CITY— Waters are rising in HCM City, flooding streets and neighbourhoods with relative frequency and posing major concerns for city officials, who deem a solution to the problem is still a long way off.

A recent conference addressing HCM City’s drainage strategies stated that 944km of the city’s sluice gates are capable of getting rid of only 30 per cent of the city’s water. Participants said that 30 per cent of the sluice gates above need to be upgraded, and another 12 per cent are not even operational.

Another problem, according to conference participants, is that 12,648ha of agricultural land, ponds and lakes have been slotted for development.

The subsequent constructions sites and sheets of cement have only worsened the situation, with floods damaging over 30,000 houses.

HCM City has several projects working to combat the problem but no progress has yet been made.

While last year 105 areas were flooded by rain and tide water, presently the figure has risen to 124.

Phan Khanh, an engineer, discussed a drainage plan issued for HCM City in 2001. According to the plan, VND40 trillion to VND60 trillion were allotted for each 650sqkm of sluice gates. But only VND5,000 billion, or approximately 10 per cent of the total, has been invested.

Regarding roads, Doctor Nguyen An Nien said that although projects have been implemented, officials have still not focused enough attention on water discharge. Nien said the road upgrades have closed off many residential areas, circling them and producing a bowl effect.

Another professor, Nguyen Sinh Huy, said if the city actually hopes to expand, it must first get control of the tides, flooding and drainage.

Many have suggested creating lakes to reduce the problem including Dr. Nguyen Hong Binh. According to Binh, the central area of the city is an area ideal for funnelling water. Relatively hollow underground, the sluice gate system could be improved by filling this area with underground concrete lakes to contain the run-off.

Regardless of the solution, a senior official at the HCM City Transport and Public Services forecast that the city will likely experience the problem until at least 2020. — VNS

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