Construction of the Vung Tau - Go Cong sea dyke is expected to help HCM City cope with waterlogging, according to experts. (Photo courtesy of sggp.org.vn)

HCM City (VNS/VNA) - The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is seeking approval from the Government to build a Vung Tau – Go Cong sea dyke in an effort to combat waterlogging in Ho Chi Minh City.

In recent years, the city has spent a great deal of money to prevent waterlogging, which occurs when the soil is saturated with water.

However, rapid urban development, together with poor management and inefficient urban planning, has reduced the city’s water storage space and limited water transport capacity of the city’s canal system.

The impact of climate change and rising sea levels have also increased flooding and salt intrusion in the Dong Thap Muoi area and HCM City, according to experts.

Heavy rains along the Dong Nai – Sai Gon River, together with high tides, have placed pressure on the city’s drainage system, worsening waterlogging.

The city is a flood-prone spot as it is located downstream of the Dong Nai River system, and has low-lying terrain, according to Dr Tran Ba Hoang at the Southern Institute of Water Resources Research.

The proposed Vung Tau – Go Cong sea dyke would be extended from Tien Giang province’s Go Cong commune to a point 5km from Ba Ria - Vung Tau province’s Vung Tau city, where it would connect with another dyke 13km long extending to Can Gio Biosphere Reserve in HCM City.

The main dyke would be 28km long and 25m wide, with an average water depth of 6.5m. The dyke scale would be 600m to 2,000m wide.

In addition to the main dyke, the project includes construction of multiple drainage ditches, a Long Tau sluice, and dams along Dong Tranh and Soai Rap rivers.

The project is based on a regional irrigation master plan, the technological capacity of Vietnam, and similar project experiences from the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea and Japan.

Total investment of the Vung Tau – Go Cong sea dyke project would be about 74 trillion VND (3.2 billion USD).

To be implemented in three phases, it would also contribute to socio-economic development in the region, experts said.

In addition to preventing floods and saline intrusion in HCM City, the project would bring other benefits.

Professor Nguyen Quang Kim, president of Water Resources University, said that even if the sea level increases by 75cm by 2100, the Vung Tau – Go Cong sea dyke would still prevent floods across the downstream of the Dong Nai –Sai Gon River and canal system.

The project would help conserve the Can Gio mangrove forest ecosystem, since it would leave an open space at the Ganh Rai Gulf, allowing a natural exchange of fresh and salt water in Can Gio.

Compared to other projects, this proposal would be less harmful to the environment.

Meanwhile, Dr Nguyen Ba An from the Development Strategy Institute under the Ministry of Planning and Investment said HCM City and neighboring areas would see less damage if the sea dyke was completed.

As it does not require land clearance, the dyke is expected to be completed within two to three years and the ditches within three to four years.

In general, construction progress would not affect the Can Gio forest and traffic to Cai Mep – Thi Vai deep-water port, while in the next 70 years, it would not affect water traffic to HCM City.

For locals who now grow clams at the river gate and outside Can Gio forest, authorities will help them find jobs in travel or service industries.

The Vung Tau – Go Cong sea dyke project is also expected to lead to the formation of new urban areas along the river and sea coasts.-VNS/VNA