Hà Nội faces summer water shortages

April 27, 2019 - 09:49
As summer approaches, people in the capital city of Hà Nội again face the most dreadful nightmare of urban life – a shortage of clean water.


A truck carrying clean water to serve people suffering from a water shortage in Hà Nội's Hoàng Mai District. — VNS Photo Đoàn Tùng

HÀ NỘI — As the summer approaches, people in the capital city of Hà Nội again face a dreadful nightmare of urban life – shortage of clean water.

This year, according to the Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting, the heat wave will be intense and long with temperatures reaching 39-42 degrees Celsius.

The demand for clean water is predicted to increase by 10-15 per cent, or 40,000-60,000 cubic metres during the summer months.

Houses in Bạch Đằng and Phúc Tân Wards in Hoàn Kiếm District have already stored water in all possible containers to ensure sufficient supply throughout the day, Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper reported.

Local residents blamed the weak flow of water and rising demand.

Access to water but an unwillingness to use it due to low quality is also a problem that occurs in many apartment buildings in Hà Nội. 

Nguyễn Tuyến, who lives at Block A of Sông Nhuệ Apartment Building in Hà Đông District’s Kiến Hưng Ward has recently seen her tap water turn yellow.

“This isn’t the first time that it has happened,” she said, adding that residents have reported the problem to management but it hasn’t been solved.

When asked about the issue, Đỗ Thế Thắng, head of the building’s management unit, said the problems only occurred in apartments who have had their water cut off for several days due to delays in paying the bills.

Following complaints about water quality from local residents, the water supply unit had taken samples for testing and the test results indicated that it met with current standards, he said.

Similar issues were was reported at Horizon City Apartment Building in Hoàng Mai District’s Lĩnh Nam Ward.

Lê Ngọc Mai said the tap water changed colour – either turned dark or yellow – in the evening.

According to the Department of Construction (DoC), with upgrades and operations of new water supply projects, the water supply is sufficient as the city's total capacity has reached over 1.2 million cubic metres of water per day.

However, Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng, head of the Technical Infrastructure Division under the DoC, said the provision of clean water didn’t only depend on the water source but also on the water pipe network, adding that water might be contaminated due to old pipes.

For example, Đuống River Surface Water Plant in Gia Lâm District has completed the first phase so that it would be able to provide 150,000 cubic meters per day. However, only one-fifth of its capacity was consumed per day, mainly for the southern districts of the city. And the rest was stockpiled because there was no pipeline to transport water to consumers.

According to leaders of Hà Nội Water Limited Company, the development of water sources and distribution of water was not in conformity with the development of water supply networks, reducing its effectiveness. 
The lack of water sources is also a challenge for water supply enterprises in Hà Nội.

According to a report from the Hà Nội Water Limited Company, the underground water for exploitation decreases by 4-6 per cent annually while water from the Đà River to the company only reaches 36,000 cubic metres per day and incidents often occur while the demand for water use increased by 2-3 per cent due to population increase.

Experts said Hà Nội was heavily dependent on the Đà River Pipeline while it suffered from frequent breakdowns over the years. When the pipeline broke, it would affect the water supply to residents in a number of localities especially those in Thanh Xuân, Từ Liêm, Đống Đa, and Hà Đông.

Households in higher areas or downstream that are likely to find it hard to access to water include those in Định Công in Hoàng Mai District, Khương Trung, Khưong Đình, Khương Mai and Phương Liệt of Thanh Xuân District.

In order to ensure water supply for the city, the DoC has asked water companies to draft plans to deal with the shortage. Authorities and companies were urged to raise the capacity of pumping stations and repair the pipes.

Inspection teams will also be established to ensure water supply will meet with standards. — VNS