City officials mull reservoirs to combat damaging floods

Update: March, 31/2014 - 08:53

HCM CITY (VNS) — The HCM City administration expects to reduce by 30 per cent the area that is regularly flooded by building 30 large reservoirs in suburban areas and hundreds of smaller ones in urban areas.

Officials from the HCM City Steering Centre for the Urban Flood Control Programme said they would submit zoning plans for this to the People's Committee for approval in the second quarter. But they did not mention a likely schedule for the work.

The reservoirs are expected to store tens of millions of cubic metres of water during the rainy season.

According to Do Tan Long of the centre, since rainfall in the city keeps increasing because of the impact of climate change, building the reservoirs is a good solution.

They will help ease the train on the drainage system during heavy rains and high tides, which have for years causing flooding.

The large reservoirs would be funded by public funds while money for the small ones would be "mobilised from people," he said.

Some existing reservoirs that were unused would also be used again, he added.

A plan to build reservoirs was approved by the city Party Committee three years ago, but it remains on paper.

At a recent meeting with the city government, Le Thanh Hai, the Party Committee secretary, said no reservoirs had been built since, indicating a "weakness" in governance.

Flood prevention was among six major programmes the city planned to work on between 2011 and 2015. While the number of areas that traditionally flood has been reducing gradually over the last few years, many new areas are becoming affected instead.

At the meeting, Le Hoang Quan, chairman of the city People's Committee, admitted that the flood prevention programme was not really sustainable.

According to the People's Committee, in the past three years the city completed several flood prevention projects, including construction of a sluice gate in the Nhieu Loc – Thi Nghe Canal and 335 kilometres of sewerage and installation of 1,077 valves to keep water out during high tides.

Quan said the reservoirs would get priority and be allocated funds.

Between 2011 and 2013, the city spent VND1.57 trillion (US$74.7 million) on flood prevention. — VNS