water, sewage inundates HCM City
|Motorbike drivers in HCM
City’s Binh Thanh District attempt to make their way through the flood
water. — VNA/VNS Photo Trang Duong
HCM CITY — Flooding in
inner HCM City is expected to worsen during the upcoming rainy season, as scores
of sewage pipes have been damaged or left unconnected from the drainage network,
according to city officials.
There are 170 sites prone
to flooding, nearly double the number of flood-prone areas last year, even
though new drainage pipes have been installed.
On Ly Thuong Kiet Street
in Tan Binh District, for instance, the contractors working on the Nhieu Loc-Thi
Nghe Basin Environmental and Hygiene Project have covered up a drainpipe opening
that crosses Phu Hoa and Le Minh Xuan streets.
As a result, rainwater in
the area has been blocked, leading to flooding.
In addition, a 600mm-pipe
crossing at Pham Van Hai Street was not connected to a new pipe by a road
construction crew, and later collapsed.
Scores of street-crossing
drainage pipes were destroyed by workers installing new pipes on Binh Thanh and
Phu Nhuan district roads, including Bach Dang, Hoang Hoa Tham, Truong Sa, Vu
Tung, Dinh Tien Hoang, Xo Viet Nghe Tinh and Nguyen Kiem.
An inspection by the city
drainage company showed that Construction Corporation No1, when installing a
pipeline, disrupted the drainage of water at the Phan Dang Luu and Hoang Hoa
A survey by the city’s
Center for Flood Prevention shows that 20 drainage pipes traversing the street
were destroyed in the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe basin area alone.
Do Tan Long, head of the
center’ s drainage system management, said the incident was spotted
immediately after the end of a raining period on April 13, but has so far not
been dealt with.
He was concerned that many
older drainage pipes have yet to be connected to the common system, although
installation of the new pipes has been completed.
Ho Long Phi, an expert at
the city’ s Flooding Prevention Co-ordination Board, warned that destruction
of branch pipes across the street was bound to worsen inner-city flooding on
rainy days and more places would be vulnerable to heavy inundation.
The only solution is to
dig up destroyed street-crossing drainage pipes and reconnect them, which would
help rainwater drain out faster and alleviate flooding in some areas.
He said a plan should have
been mapped out at the beginning to connect branch pipes with newly installed
pipes on a step-by-step basis during the construction process.
The city’s current
drainage system can meet only 30 per cent of the actual demand, while scientists
have warned that multimillion-dollar drainage projects now being undertaken will
soon become out of date upon completion.
According to the city’s
Department of Transport, the total length of the current drainage pipelines
across the city is around 1,000km, meeting less than one-third of practical
Many streets and
residential areas still don’t have a proper drainage system and several rivers
and canals have been flattened because of inadequate planning, which has
worsened flooding in the city.
To tackle the problem, an
approved master plan until 2020 envisages the city will build 2,500km of open
sewage to drain rainwater and another 2,000km to collect wastewater from eight
City authorities are
depending on ODA-funded projects capitalised at US$800 million to address
flooding in inner-city districts, such as districts 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11 and
Phu Nhuan, Binh Thanh and Tan Binh.
The city’s Environmental
and Hygiene project at Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal, the Water Environment
Improvement project and the Urban Upgrade project will together build 250km of
new rainwater drains, 40 km of connecting drains and two wastewater treatment
Progress of these
projects, however, has been delayed for four years, while just 60-70 per cent of
the workload has been completed.
It is anticipated that the
projects will be finished by early 2011 or 2012.
But Ho Long Phi warned
that the projects were at risk of becoming obsolete after being put into service
and would fail to deal with chronic flooding in inner-city areas.
Most of the projects were
designed based on the database on rainfall and strong tides during the 1999-2000
period, during which the drainage system was designed to tackle only 90-98mm
rains citing the occurrence of 100-mm rain every three to four years.
however, shows that there are heavier rains of more than 100mm, which will
ultimately make the ongoing installation of new drainage pipes outdated and
overloaded. — VNS