HCMC needs reservoirs to store water as saltwater intrusion increases: experts

By Dinh Muoi, Thanh Nien News

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The Tan Hiep Water Plant has often halted operation this dry season due to short of freshwater. Photo: Diep Duc Minh The Tan Hiep Water Plant has often halted operation this dry season due to short of freshwater. Photo: Diep Duc Minh

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Ho Chi Minh City should build reservoirs along upstream Saigon River to store freshwater when the tide goes out since saltwater intrusion is increasing, according to experts from water solutions consultant Vitens Evides International.
Salt content in the river is on the rise, often reaching 600 mg per liter at many places, Rik Dierx of the Dutch company said at a conference held by the Saigon Water Corporation (Sawaco) on April 8.
The company’s experts suggested construction of multipurpose freshwater reservoirs near Lang The and Dia Phan canals in Cu Chi District to supply the Tan Hiep water pumping station.
According to Nguyen Hong Tien of the Ministry of Construction, the government has approved a plan to supply 3.6 trillion liters of water a day to HCMC through pipes from the Dau Tieng and Tri An reservoirs.
But drawing water from Dau Tieng, which is 70 km away, could cost up to US$1.5 billion, forcing relevant agencies to consider alternate solutions.
A rise in sea levels and overexploitation of groundwater have been blamed for more frequent flooding in HCMC during the rainy season and saltwater intrusion in the Dong Nai and Saigon rivers in dry season.
Experts are also concerned about the quality of water in the rivers due to discharge of domestic and industrial wastewater into them, leading to unsafe levels of metals and bacteria.
With the salinity encroaching more and more up the Saigon River, Sawaco plans to lay 10km of pipes to get water from further upstream to the Hoa Phu pumping station which supplies Tan Hiep.

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