Heavy rain causes flood in a road of HCM City. (Photo: duongbo.vn)

HCM City (VNA)
- HCM City has announced that it will pump an estimated 11.61 trillion VND (505 million USD) into 84 projects in an attempt to reduce floods over the next five years.

The ambitious plan was unveiled at a conference held on April 8 by the city’s Flood Prevention Agency and HCM City National University, which attracted many scientists and experts.

The top priorities include dredging and upgrading the Tham Luong-Ben Cat and Rach Nuoc Len Canal with a total length of 32 kilometers, which is expected to help the city drain water for around 14,500 hectares.

Other top priorities include dredging the 8.2 km Xuyen Tam Rivulet; building eight sluices to control tides and flooding; and construction of nearly 20 kilometers of dykes along high-prone sections of the Saigon River.

According to conference participants, though southern Vietnam is in the midst of a historic drought, a major concern regarding the future of the region, and in particular HCM City, is flooding.

The annual monsoon rains regularly flood sections of the city, and even high tides on the Saigon River can inundate low-lying areas.

Upgrading four main water sewers, namely Ba Chinh, Thu Dao, Ong Be and Thay Tieu, is also an important part of the city’s flood control programme.

The city has implemented programmes in response to climate change as it expects increasingly severe flooding in the coming years.

The conference heard several solutions from scientists and experts to cope with the flooding.

Do Tan Long, head of the Steering Centre for the Urban Flood Control Programme, said: “The city has built water drainage systems that have met only 40 percent of practical needs, while urban management and forecasting still has several limitations.”

Long proposed that the city develop a master plan on construction of a water drainage system and construction of reservoirs and anti-flood irrigation systems.

Le Thanh Cong, Director of the Design Consulting Company, said it was necessary to seek ways to fully use existing canals and rivulets for water drainage.

Professor Nguyen Minh Hoa agreed with Cong, but added that the city must unblock all the existing canals and rivulets. “Doing this would improve flood prevention efforts.”

“Rapid urbanisation has led to the loss of thousands of hectares of natural reservoirs. The leveling of canals, rivulets and ponds to build houses has become all too common,” he explained.

Bui Viet Hung from the HCM City National University said that the city should closely cooperate with the provinces of Dong Nai and Long An to ensure the effectiveness of anti-flood activities.

“Construction projects that have leveled a considerable part of Long An’s Soai Rap River have also affected the Saigon River’s water level at tidal peak. So, the current measures to construct sluices to control tides cannot completely settle the flooding problem,” Hung said.-VNA