While moving cables underground to spruce up the capital city before the millennial anniversary celebrations this October, many contractors have broken pipelines and caused the loss of millions of liters of water every day.
Water pipes in the city are buried 30 centimeters underground, the same level at which the cables are planned to be laid, instead of being hung overhead between electric poles.
Dao Quang Minh, deputy director of Dong Da water factory, said each break in the water pipeline causes water loss worth millions of dong every day, not to mention the money it takes to fix the damage each time.
Minh was quoted by local news website Vnexpress Thursday as saying it would be a bigger concern if the constructors make a crack and cover it with rubber strings as the water would absorb pollutants.
The pipeline on Nguyen Luong Bang Street was broken Saturday last week and a lot of residents had to go without water for a couple days.
Earlier, a similar incident on Hang Bot Street wasted thousands of cubic meters of water while another one on Thai Thinh Street deprived hundreds of families of water for days.
The water loss has been particularly frustrating for residents suffering the unusually hot weather this year.
But the contractors who break the pipes try to evade their responsbility and keep silent about the problem, officials said.
Nearly 60 incidents of pipeline breaks have occurred in Cau Giay District alone this year. One on Hoang Quoc Viet Street in March affected thousands of families in the area.
"After breaking the water pipes, the contractors didn't compensate and even tried to evade responsibility," Tran Xuan Cuong, director of Cau Giay Water Factory, was quoted by Vnexpress as saying.
"They didn't reply to notes from water firms. And water firms do not have the authority to punish them," Cuong said.
Le Van Duc, deputy director of Hanoi Construction Department, told Vnexpress water firms should identify the contractors who have broken the pipes and report to the department.
Duc said the department has only ten inspectors and cannot go around to punish the contractors on the spot.