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Heavy rains put pressure on $550 million drainage system in Hanoi

Despite a newly built $550-million water drainage system, Hanoi streets are still inundated during heavy rains.

In 2000, the Hanoi People’s Committee approved a water drainage project for inner districts between the To Lich and Nhue rivers.

The project was initially planned to be completed by 2005. However, due to slow implementation, the work finished in late 2016.

2017 is the first rainy season that has tested the efficiency of the project.

Pham Si Liem, deputy chair of the Vietnam Construction Federation, former Deputy Minister of Construction, said: “Hanoi designs the water drainage system with one hand and destroys the system with the other hand with unreasonable programming of construction works.”

“With the drainage system, engineers design the way to lead water from one place to another. But the way gets stuck because of unreasonable construction. As a result, water cannot go to the sewer and causes flooding in many places,” he explained.

He said that all construction works and drainage systems must be built based on the city’s overall development program. Hanoi not only needs to reserve land for buildings but for infrastructure items as well.

Tran Huy Uyen, former head of Vietnam Water Supply & Drainage, blames the inundation in Hanoi on poor development programming and the old sewer system built during the French colonial period.

Commenting about the capability of the drainage system, Vo Tien Hung, director of the Hanoi Water Drainage Company, said with rains of 310 ml/2 days & nights (13.4 ml/2 hours), the project will ensure drainage of inner districts.

With rains with the flow of 30-50 ml/2 hours, the system will be overloaded and inundation spots will appear.

Some analysts said the new drainage system is not structured well and the drainage has been relying on rivers and canals.

Truong Van Quang from the Institute of Architecture, Urban and Rural Planning, pointed out that the project can only serve the drainage for the core area of Hanoi.

Meanwhile, as the project was completed 12 years later than initially planned, it has become unsuitable because of big changes in urban development.

Hanoi’s population and construction work density in the inner city has increased by twofold compared with 10 years ago. As Hanoi has expanded, the drainage system has to bear a part of the floods from the western area.

Source: Vietnamnet