Flood experts have called for the Ho Chi Minh City government to adopt drastic measures to control flooding here in the city; otherwise, the city will not be able to solve this chronic problem in future, the Saigon Times Daily reported.

The HCM City Department of Transport invited 20 experts in irrigation, hydrometeorology, natural resources and environment to a seminar in the city last week to discuss possible measures for controlling worsening floods.

Le Hoang Minh, deputy director of the department, said the HCM City government needed experts and scientists to propose how to ease flooding caused by heavy rain and high tides in the city.

Minh pointed out the actual situation that rainfalls of 85 millimetres or higher alone overloaded the drainage system developed in the city in accordance with a zoning plan approved by the Prime Minister in Decision 752/2001/QD-TTg. Tide levels increase year after year but when 13 tide control sluices are completed remains unknown.

“Therefore, flood control is a hard nut to crack in the current context,” the Daily quoted Minh as saying. “We request experts and scientists suggest measures and send them to the department and relevant agencies.”

There have been 36 downpours with average rainfall of over 85 millimetres in the city since 2006. Flood tides have risen since 2008, reaching an all-time high of 1.7 metres on October 10.

The funding of the irrigation project aimed to prevent flooding in HCM City has amounted to 57.8 trillion VND from 11 trillion VND. Five years after the project was approved by the Prime Minister, the city has completed only a small workload of the main components including building 149 kilometres of embankment along the banks of the Saigon River and nine big sluices to control flooding triggered by heavy rain and tides in the city.

A report presented by Do Tan Long, head of the water drainage department at the HCM City Steering Centre for Flood Control, showed that the city needs to have 6,000 kilometres of sewer but less than 3,100 kilometres have been built. The city has been able to finalized construction of some 31 kilometres of embankment and only one sluice out of the 13 sluices.

Irrigation expert Le Thanh Cong, director of consulting firm D&C, was cited as saying that the city is executing major flood control projects without in-depth studies and will not address the flooding problem in the next 6-15 years.

Cong called for relevant agencies to invest heavily in thorough studies on the rainfall and flood tides as well as correct shortcomings in zoning plans on flood control in the city.-VNA