HCMC – Due to the increasing water pollution, HCMC has planned to take raw water in the upper reaches of the Saigon and Dong Nai rivers, according to a plan to develop the water supply system in the city in the 2020-2050 period approved by the municipal government.
Specifically, by 2030, the city will exploit water at a location that is 15-20 kilometers from the current location in Hoa Phu Commune of Cu Chi District and 10-15 kilometers upstream from the confluence of the Thi Tinh and Saigon rivers, Thanh Nien Online newspaper reported.
The move is aimed at reducing the impact of wastewater from Binh Duong Province flowing into the Thi Tinh River.
In the future, the existing and new water treatment plants will be provided with raw water directly from Dau Tieng Lake in Tay Ninh Province and Tri An Lake in Dong Nai Province. New plants will be built in the eastern and western areas of HCMC.
Of these, the plant in the eastern area will be located in Thu Duc City, have a capacity of 500,000 cubic meters per day and use raw water from the Dong Nai River and Tri An Lake. It is expected to start operating in 2040.
Meanwhile, the plant in the western area will use raw water from the Saigon River and Dau Tieng Lake and have a daily capacity of two million cubic meters. It is expected to be completed by 2050 and located in Hoc Mon or Binh Chanh District.
In reality, 94% of raw water in HCMC is sourced from the Saigon and Dong Nai rivers through the Hoa Phu water pumping station in Cu Chi District and the Hoa An pumping station in Dong Nai Province; it is then led to the Tan Hiep and Thu Duc water treatment plants for treatment and supply to residents.
However, HCMC has faced multiple difficulties in controlling water pollution triggered by the socioeconomic development along the Saigon and Dong Nai rivers.
According to the municipal Department of Natural Resources and Environment, the water in sections of the Saigon River from Hoa An to Cat Lai and from Binh Phuoc to the Dong Nai River is seriously polluted.
Throwing support behind the plan to change the location for raw water intake, Professor Dr Tran Duc Ha, director of the Institute of Water Supply, Sewerage and Environment, said water resources must be far away from sources of wastewater to ensure safety.
However, he remained doubtful about the safety of the water resources in the upper reaches, saying that the key mission is to manage the water resources.
Dr Ho Long Phi, director of the Water Management and Climate Change Center under the Vietnam National University HCMC, said the Saigon River is seriously polluted. If the city continues to use water from the river, water treatment plants must be equipped with more advanced technologies. Moreover, the salinity intrusion is worsening, resulting in a shortage of clean water.
The upper reaches of the Saigon and Dong Nai rivers were forecast to be less vulnerable to climate change and the rising sea level in the next 50-100 years.
However, the city will need hundreds of U.S. dollars to invest in a massive water pumping system with a daily capacity of hundreds of cubic meters and long pipes and to clear the site, Phi added.
According to Dr Phung Duc Tung, director of the Mekong Development Research Institute, rivers are at a high risk of pollution as plant protection drugs and chemicals have been widely used and discharged into rivers and streams. Changing the location for raw water exploitation is just a temporary solution.