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Anti-flood projects, left idle for six years, now cost six times more

Many of Ho Chi Minh City’s anti-flood projects that have been left undeveloped for six years will now require nearly six times as much investment as originally planned due to inflation, a seminar was told Tuesday.

Many of Ho Chi Minh City’s anti-flood projects that have been left undeveloped for six years will now require nearly six times as much investment as originally planned due to inflation, a seminar was told Tuesday.
Many of Ho Chi Minh City’s anti-flood projects that have been left undeveloped for six years will now require nearly six times as much investment as originally planned due to inflation, a seminar was told Tuesday.

The information was released at a workshop jointly conducted by the Ho Chi Minh City Anti-flooding Program Operation Center and the World Bank to review performance in the management of flooding risks in the city.

Speaking at the event, many experts said that the irrigation plan for inundation prevention was approved six years ago, but most of the projects under the plan have yet to be developed.

Therefore, due to the escalation of prices over time, the initially estimated investment in these projects has increased from VND11,531 billion (US$542.7 million)  to VND67,655 billion ($3.18 billion), or 5.86 times higher (according to commodity prices in 2013).

The city’s rainwater drainage systems have become obsolete and ineffective, and are not able to cope with the impacts of climate change, experts said.

They need to be replaced by the projects included in the plan, but due to climate change many of these developments need to be modified to match actual conditions and survive future changes.

For example, the embankment along the Tham Luong-Ben Cat-Nuoc Len canal needs to be built higher than initially designed.

Experts also suggested that the program on management of flood risk be included inthe city’s urban development plan.

Currents need streamlined, widened

Also yesterday, Le Hoang Minh, deputy director of the HCMC Transport Department, and other officials from concerned agencies visited a number of areas where water currents have been restricted due to the ongoing renovation of the Tan Hoa-Lo Gom canal.

The inspectors found that the construction of roads and embankments around the Hau Giang Bridge in Ward 11, District 6, blocked the discharge outlet that transmits water to the canal.

“The obstruction of the outlet does not directly cause flooding on Hau Giang Street, but will exacerbate flooding in other areas,” Minh said.

At other construction sites related to the project, such as the Ong Buong 2 and Tan Hoa bridges, the respective construction units have enlarged the currents, but the drains have yet to be improved, the inspectors said.

The city’s Urban Upgrading Works Investment Management Board must ask relevant contractors to arrange pumps at the construction sites to drain water during heavy rains, Minh said.

At the same time, contractors must also continue to widen currents and dredge canals to improve water drainage to ease flooding in flood-prone areas.

At a meeting on October 21 with the department and other relevant agencies to discuss urgent solutions to the city’s ongoing flooding issues the city People’s Committee Vice Chairman, Nguyen Huu Tin, requested that the department eliminate all areas vulnerable to inundation within the next year.

According to the transport department, the city now has 27 flood-prone areas.