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Plans have been announced to create new reservoirs to control flooding in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The work is expected to start later this year with the pilot project, a reservoir near Khanh Hoi in District 4.
Three similar reservoirs could be added by the end of the year, situated in District 2, Thu Duc District and Tan Phu District. Plans are also being considered to widen several existing lakes to create further storm and flood water storage. Some of the new reservoirs could be built underground.
Ho Chi Minh City Climate Change Adaptation Strategy
The plans fit in the strategy of the Vietnam Climate Adaptation Partnership (VCAPS) between Vietnam and the Netherlands., a partnership working to introduce the climate adaptation strategy for the whole of Ho Chi Minh City. The city of Rotterdam is also involved in this partnership.
Leon Valkenburg is responsible for the contribution of Witteveen+Bos, the Dutch engineering company involved in the project through their work on flood risk management and urban development. He said:
“Together with Vietnamese partners the VCAPS consortium have developed a general climate adaptation strategy for Ho Chi Minh City. The strategy focuses on directions for urban development and climate adaptation. The directions contain measures against threats like land subsidence, extreme rainfall, urban heat, flooding and salt intrusion”.
The Khanh Hoi Reservoir and similar reservoirs are in line with a wider strategy to help Ho Chi Minh City adapt to climate change through the VCAPS partnership.
Khanh Hoi Reservoir
About the plans for new water storage reservoirs for flood prevention, Leon Valkenburg said:
“Plans are being prepared to create a water storage area (or reservoir) near Khanh Hoi in District 4. This water storage area is to be built above ground and is planned to be combined with green space. It is a water retention area to store excess rain water and to block high tides from entering district 4 causing backflow in the sewer system.
The reservoirs are expected to significantly reduce flooding, which has been a major problem for Ho Chi Minh City over the last few years.
“Generally speaking, creating water storage areas will alleviate flooding substantially. Fewer streets, businesses and houses will be flooded. The reservoir in district 4 will reduce flooding caused by both rainfall and high tides. At the moment, local flooding by high tide occurs every spring tide (at least twice a month)”.
An Example for Other Flood-Prone Cities
The planned project in Ho Chi Minh City is almost the complete opposite of what has happened in Phnom Penh, where at least 6 of the city’s lakes have been filled in for building land over the last decade.
So, can other cities learn from this project? According to Leon Valkenburg, there is certainly a need.
“A consequence of urbanisation around the world is a reduction of green space and space for open water.”
“In addition, the demand for water resources and the amount of waste water increases. Integrating water storage, a separate sewer system and green space in the cities, like the proposed project in Ho Chi Minh City, will reduce flooding and will improve living conditions”.
The principles applied in Ho Chi Minh City can be applied in other cities. However, local circumstances all vary and any city aiming for similar results will need to make specific plans relevant to their own needs.
“The design applied in Ho Chi Minh City cannot be directly copied to for instance Phnom Penh, because the local water system and soil composition are different, but also because the governance in the cities is different. Plans always have to fit the institutional structure as well”.