Prompt measures should be taken to adapt to climate change at a time when it is increasingly affecting the city, a HCM City official has said.

Speaking at a three-day conference in HCM City , Dao Anh Kiet, director of the city Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said the city was enduring severe impacts from climate change.

The sectors affected include water resources, urban flooding, agriculture, forestry and urban land use.

"The main sources of water for daily use as well as for industry and agriculture are taken from the Dong Nai River basin , but there has been a shortage of water because of a drop in rainfall and increasing salination in districts 7,8 and Nha Be," he said.

Urban flooding has occurred at 155 out of 322 wards around the city. During its peak, flooding occupied 110,000ha of urban land, affecting about one million residents.

Kiet forecast that the frequency of floods would increase sharply by 2050.

"If the city does not take proper measures, the number of flooded wards would be 265," he said.

Furthermore, salination and temperature rise would negatively affect 1,520ha of rice paddy, 2,970ha of sugarcane fields and 34,000ha of forest.

The flooding could destroy forest biodiversity in Cu Chi District and Can Gio mangrove forest and several species could face extinction, Kiet said.

In addition, urban land management would be more difficult for city authorities when 61 percent of residential land and 67 percent of industrial land in the city is flooded.

Authorities have set up a city-level steering board for climate-change adaptation and have established an action plan for the 2011-2015 period, based on advice from experts from the Netherlands .

The city has also funded 4 trillion VND (192 million USD) for 30 proposed projects for climate-change adaptation.

Kiet recommended that the city enhance the operation of the steering board and speed up projects for quick results on climate change adaptation.

The conference involves participation of experts from countries including Japan , Kenya , Ghana , Thailand , Malaysia and Bangladesh .

The conference was held on Wednesday by the UN Centre for Regional Development and Vietnam National University in HCM City .

Following the sessions of the conference, participating experts will conduct field trip to the Mekong Delta on Saturday and Sunday./.