Climate change has a huge impact on HCM City’s water resources, the head of its public water utility has warned. (Photo: sggp.org.vn)

HCM City (VNA)
- Climate change has a huge impact on HCM City’s water resources, the head of its public water utility has warned.

“Climate change, especially drought and saltwater intrusion [into rivers], has directly affected the Dong Nai and Saigon Rivers, making water treatment difficult,” said Tran Van Khuyen, Chairman of the Saigon Water Supply Corporation.

To cope with this, the corporation has actively worked to adjust the water supply master plan, incorporating provisions to build more lakes and tanks to store treated and untreated water and pumping stations.

Now water in the Dong Nai and Saigon River have salinity levels of 12mg/litre, 2mg higher than normal but lower than at the same time last year when it was 30mg/litre.

“This year we don’t need to worry about the salinity level because the allowed limit is 250mg, and we plan to draw water from Dau Tieng and Tri An Reservoirs and from under the ground to reduce salinity levels,” Hoang Ha, head of the corporation’s water quality management department, said.

Dang Hoa Vinh, head of the HCM City Natural Geography Institute’s Water Resource Department, said: “This year the drought is not expected to be as serious as last year thanks to prolonged rains.”

Vinh said Cu Chi district has a number of lakes and they can be used to store water for the dry season.

“HCM City can build more water storage lakes along rivers.”

Vinh also requested the Saigon Water Supply Corporation to install pipes to bring water directly from Dau Tieng and Tri An Reservoirs to water pumping stations.

“We will need a huge investment in the beginning, but we can ensure the quality and quantity of water for the long term in the context of climate change and more serious droughts and saltwater intrusions in future.”

The corporation has completed two water storage lakes with a combined capacity of 180,000 cubic metres at the Thu Duc and Tan Hiep Water Supply Plants, and is preparing to build more water lakes in Binh Chanh district soon.

Experts said authorities should consider building rainwater storage lakes in outlying districts like Cu Chi, Hoc Mon, Binh Chanh and Can Gio.

“Rainwater is the freshest, cleanest and safest water source. People can use rainwater without treatment. Rainwater storage will save expense and ease water supply pressure on utilities,” Vinh added.-VNA