HCM City drainage channels disappearing

VietNamNet Bridge – Ho Chi Minh City’s canals, drains and waterways are being filled up or clogged, making the city increasingly susceptible to flooding during rains. A lack of public awareness and poor city management have been blamed for the problem.


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The Opal Riverside project is encroaching on city drainage channels


HCM City has over five kilometres of channels and canals used for drainage. However, 54 of 110 channels and canals managed by the city Urban Drainage Company have been completely or partially filled up.

As a result, the city is easily flooded when it is rain. According to the locals, ever since Cau Cut Canal was narrowed due to new housing and illegal rubbish tipping, the streets of Le Duc Tho, Cay Tram and Pham Van Chieu have often experienced flooding.

Real estate investors are encroaching on storm channels and canals for new projects. Rapid urbanisation rate is destroying the city storm drainage capacity. The Dat Xanh Corporation’s Opal Riverside project has also raised concerns after it became clear that two channels that connect to the Saigon River were being affected.

Ngo Manh Tien, a resident in Hiep Binh Chanh Ward, said the channel's width had been halved to about five metres. Locals are worried because this drainage channel is vital for many residential areas and Kha Van Can Street and despite an official complaint to district authorities the problem has not been solved.

In 2008, the local Department of Transport issued a list of 900 storm drains, channels and canals that are protected from being encroached. Even though Rach Dua Channel is on the list, the local authorities allowed local people and Tran Thanh Real Estate Company to replace parts of the channel with their own sewer system. In addition, the Tran Thanh Company was also allowed to fill up part of Rach Dua Channel to build a road.

Vo Kim Cuong, former vice chief architect of HCM City Department of Planning and Architecture, said channels not only act as water drainage but also help regulate underground water. He advised caution when changing any surface water channels due to the potential knock-one effects that could be caused.

    
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