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Fast-sinking Ho Chi Minh City seeks to end groundwater extraction

Saturday, October 19, 2019, 16:20 GMT+7
Fast-sinking Ho Chi Minh City seeks to end groundwater extraction
Workers seal a groundwater well in Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Le Phan / Tuoi Tre

The administration of Ho Chi Minh City has said it will ask the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to stop issuing new licenses for groundwater extraction as work to seal thousands of existing groundwater wells is already under way in the fast-sinking city.

The city said it has tasked the municipal Department of Natural Resources and Environment with reviewing the current situation of groundwater extraction in industrial and residential areas.

Based on the results of the review, the department must come up with a road map for reducing groundwater extraction in the southern metropolis and providing residents with alternative sources of clean water, it said.

The municipal administration added it’s also looking to propose that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment restrict and cease the issuance of new groundwater extraction permits in Ho Chi Minh City.

For the rural district of Cu Chi, where tap water is not yet widely available, the city said it’s mulling over mobilizing tanker trucks to transport clean water to residents when groundwater is no longer available.

Around 100,000 wells are pumping up nearly 700,000 cubic meters of groundwater every day in Ho Chi Minh City, according to statistics from local authorities.

A campaign was launched in June to seal these wells by 2025, at the estimated cost of VND1.2 million (US$52) per well.

Excessive groundwater extraction has been named among the top reasons for the fast sinking rate of Ho Chi Minh City.

The city of 8.9 million people is sinking at the alarming rate of 40-67 millimeters every year.

Nguyen Huu Canh Street in Binh Thanh District, the fastest-sinking area in the southern metropolis, has sunk by 1.2 meters over the past 12 years, according to officials.

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