Int'l experts offer City solutions to flooding

Update: October, 01/2015 - 09:35
Heavy rain caused flood in Binh Thach District, HCM City. Foreign experts also suggested the use of new technologies to upgrade the existing drainage system in HCM City, and construction of new infrastructure for flood prevention. — Photo

HCM CITY (VNS) — Leaders of HCM City consulted international experts about flood-prevention solutions during a meeting chaired by the city's Party Committee Secretary Le Thanh Hai yesterday.

International experts said the flooding situation had reached a "red alert" level, especially after the heavy rain that fell on September 15, which flooded 77 roads.

I Chang Tsai, a Taiwanese expert on flood prevention, warned that with the increasing impact from climate change the city should prepare for the worst scenario, which could affect 12 per cent of the city's population and erode 23 per cent of land.

Serious floods would also affect GDP growth, he said.

German expert Olaf Jue Hner said that Hamburg, like HCM City, was also affected by high tides.

Building irrigation and drainage systems was the traditional way of preventing floods in Europe, but many cities like Hamburg had developed a new strategy to live with floods in a harmonious way.

The German expert said that European countries had invested US$5 billion to build more spaces for water so that it can be returned to nature.

"We can send the water away, but we cannot treat it. So we need to expand spaces for the water to flow. During the floods in 2013, we had to break dykes to create a stream for the water. When the water began to rise, we used mobile bridges," he said.

Another expert, Haris F. Abdullah of Malaysia, said that his company had built an underground system for traffic as well as drainage to deal with flooding.

He said the company could build a similar system in HCM City under the investment mode BOT (Build–Operate-Transfer), BT (Build-Operate) or BOO (Build–Operate-Own).

The foreign experts also suggested the use of new technologies to upgrade the existing drainage system in HCM City, and construction of new infrastructure for flood prevention.

They said that training of human resources for flood-prevention tasks was badly needed as well.

Le Thanh Hai, the city's Party Committee Secretary, thanked the experts for their opinions on flood prevention.

"Flooding is one of several issues the city has to confront during the development process. And the situation has been worsening. The recent flooding has upset and angered residents, and has also hindered economic development," he said.

At the meeting, the city's Party Committee leader assigned the municipal Department of Transport and other authorities to work with consultants to seek the most feasible solutions for flood prevention.

Nguyen Ngoc Cong, director of HCM City's Flood Prevention Centre, said this year the city would build six big sluice gates in Tan Thuan, Ben Nghe, Phu Xuan, Muong Chuoi, Cay Kho and Phu Dinh.

In addition, it would build 68 small sluice gates and a 7-km dyke along one side of the Sai Gon River to prevent flooding.

The projects, valued at VND9.85 trillion ($437.8 million), will be completed in two years. The fund has been approved by the State Bank of Viet Nam.

The city is also in negotiations with the World Bank to build two big sluice gates at the Vam Thuat and Nuoc Len canals.

Besides developing a sluice gate system, the city will focus on upgrading the drainage system, with the aim of easing 31 flooding points by 2018.

The Government has instructed the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to collaborate with HCM City and Long An Province to devise measures to combat flooding in south Sai Gon. The main causes of flooding are climate change and the city's outdated and overloaded drainage systems. — VNS