Thủ Đức Water Supply Plant in HCM City’s Hóc Môn District.
— VNS File Photo
HCM CITY — The HCM City Department of Natural Resources and Environment has warned about pollution in the Sài Gòn and Đồng Nai Rivers and said the city water supply utilities should ensure the water it supplies residents is safe.
A recent study by the department found the upper section of the Sài Gòn River, from Bình Phước Province and up, to be of A Standard and from Bình Phước and down to be B Standard.
Tests of the river’s water from Hoá An in Đồng Nai Province to Cát Lái in HCM City’s District 2 found microbial pollution and petrol in it.
According to the Sài Gòn Water Supply Co. (Sawaco), it sources water mainly from the Sài Gòn and Đồng Nai basins (94 per cent) and only a small proportion (6 per cent) comes from groundwater.
Despite the efforts taken to protect and manage water resources, the quality of water in the two rivers has deteriorated, with the rates of ammonia, micro-organisms and others in the Sài Gòn River increasing.
Sawaco has also called on relevant agencies in cities and provinces along the Đồng Nai River to collaborate to protect its water.
Dr Võ Lê Phú, head of the HCM City Polytechnic University’s environment and natural resources department, said the quality of water in the Sài Gòn River, the major source of water supply to HCM City, has degraded due to the rapid urban development.
Every day 700,000-900,000 cubic metres of wastewater is discharged into the environment in the city, he said.
A 2015 study found that the Sài Gòn River was being polluted by pharmaceutical, healthcare and plastic products, he said.
City authorities should adopt stricter regulations and measures for water resource management to prevent the deterioration of the water sources, including better control of wastewater discharged by industries, he added.
Deputy chief of Sawaco, Bùi Thanh Quang, said last month 2.4 million cubic metres of water were supplied to the city daily, and the water quality is closely monitored and controlled based on the Ministry of Health guidelines.
Sawaco has also tied up with foreign institutes, universities and water utilities to conduct research into water-treatment technologies.
Faced with the increased pollution and seawater encroachment into the Sài Gòn River in the dry season, Sawaco has made plans to exploit water from Dầu Tiếng Reservoir (in Dầu Tiếng District in Bình Dương Province and Hớn Quản District in Bình Phước Province).
The company also plans to relocate the Tân Hiệp water treatment Plant in Hóc Môn District to the upper section of the Sài Gòn River and build additional reservoirs to store water.
To ensure adequate water supply, city authorities should invest more in building reservoirs and innovating technologies, Quang said. — VNS