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Vietnam seeks solutions for “smart water use”

 Environmental experts say HCMC needs to find solutions to smart water use, an important part of the plan to develop a smart city.
Environmental experts say HCMC needs to find solutions to smart water use, an important part of the plan to develop a smart city.

HCMC is now under pressure as demand for clean water is increasing while Sai Gon and Dong Nai rivers, the main sources of raw water for the city, are getting more polluted because of the increased number of industrial production workshops and animal farms.

The water supply plants, which have total clean water production capacity of 2.4 million cubic meters per day in HCMC, sometimes have to stop using raw water from Sai Gon and Dong Nai rivers because of the high salinity.

The city’s authorities said that El Nino has had serious impact on water sources on SaiGon and Dong Nai, thus affecting production of a number of water plants.

Anke Mastenbroek from Royal Haskoning DHV said there are many technological solutions to purify polluted water and turn saltwater into fresh water. However, keeping rivers clean is the best solution to ensure sustainable clean water sources.

Doan Manh Thang, also from Royal Haskoning DHV, commented that one of the solutions for HCMC’s water use is bringing raw water from Dau Tieng, Tri An and Phuoc Hoa water reservoirs.

“These are the two most sustainable water sources for now which can replace Sai Gon and Dong Nai if the two rivers become meseriously polluted,” he said.

Environmentalists say that while waste water discharge and sand exploitation activities are polluting the two rivers very rapidly, local authorities and the committee for Sai Gon – Dong Nai river protection have been slow in taking action to protect water sources.

They said about 1.2 million cubic meters of waste water go to the Sai Gon river every day through 4,500 discharge points, but only 16 percent of the volume is treated.

Tran Kim Thach of Saigon Water Supply Plant confirmed that the signs of serious pollution on Dong Nai and SaiGon rivers have existed for five years with the COD and BOD often higher than the Standard No 08.

On high tide days, the ammonium content can exceed MONRE’s standard by 10 times. Excess ammonium content in water that exceeds permitted standards can be converted into carcinogens and other diseases.

Using water smartly is understood as taking full advantage of data and information to build and manage the water management system more effectively. Technology is used to watch over and optimize use of the water supply to the system.