HCM City plans to reduce exploitation of groundwater hinh anh 1A woman uses tap water in Binh Tan district of HCM City (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNS/VNA) – Ho Chi Minh City’s authorities plan to reduce the exploitation of groundwater from now to 2025 to prevent land subsidence and protect residents’ health.

Huynh Thanh Nha, head of the office of water resource and minerals under the city’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said that over 700,000cu.metres of groundwater were being exploited daily in the city. Half of the total serves households, while the rest is for manufacturing activities.

Under the city’s plan, the total volume of groundwater exploitation would be reduced to 470,000cu.m this year; 330,000cu.m a day by 2019; 200,000cu.m a day in the 2020-23 period; and 100,000cu.m a day by 2025, Nha said.

He said to implement the plan, the city’s authorities will gradually reduce groundwater exploitation in 24 districts, stop the operation of old and illegal water wells, and install tap water systems in the areas where groundwater is exploited.

"The city will not issue new licences to exploit underground water, and will strictly punish violators," he said.

A list of locations where groundwater exploitation could endanger local residents and the environment will be compiled, Nha said.

The department and district authorities will also promote awareness about the damage caused by over-exploitation of groundwater resources and will call on residents and enterprises to stop using well water.

Protection measures and management solutions will be identified to ensure sustainable water exploitation.

As many as 149 water samples collected from wells in HCM City late last month showed concentrations of iron, pH, E.coli bacteria and ammonia that failed to meet standards set by the Ministry of Health, according to a recent investigation carried out by the Preventive Health Centre.

Groundwater can be harmful to users’ health because of dangerous chemicals or wastewater, the investigation noted.

All HCM City residents now have access to clean water, but many households for years have refused to use available tap water.

The city’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment has asked all districts to continue to promote public awareness about the use of groundwater resources.-VNS/VNA