A Ho Chi Minh City not flooded

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Is there a possibility that there is little to no flood in Ho Chi Minh City? Architect Nam-Son Ngo-Viet believes yes.

In his talk at Salon Cà phê sáng thứ 7 last Saturday, Dr. Ngo-Viet informed attendants that currently there are many misunderstandings about the planning of Saigon that lead to urban water mis-management. He reiterated that a more livable Saigon, first and foremost, necessitates critical thinking and collective efforts.

Recently, a hypothesis about the establishment of District 7 and Thu Thiem as the reasons behind ineffective water drainage has surfaced around the World Wide Web. A few reputable professors and experts agreed with it.

Dr. Ngo-Viet asserted that, however, while in terms of altitude District 7 and Thu Thiem are still considerably lower than other parts of the city, they are less affected by heavy downpours.

To take a closer look, what happens in Saigon reflects what happens in the whole country: the higher the urban area, the more serious its flooding situation.

Leaders of the city have made efforts to address and solve this issue. However, because the leaders specifically, and the people generally, are thinking in passive terms that they have to deal with the floods, it unfortunately worsens Saigon’s situation as time goes by.

We need to start thinking in terms of urban water management – not in terms of dealing with flood, says Dr. Ngo-Viet. This change in thinking will enable us to actively and strategically planning our city.

It also help us to see the benefits of flooding: it creates opportunities for urban water retention, urban surface cleaning, and even migration of some fish species. Seeing the issue of flooding from a more comprehensive perspective, we will manage water more effectively and efficiently.

Because most projects in Vietnam only focus on solutions without substantial research, even project managers are not well-aware of the current situation that their projects are trying to address and potentially solve. This methodology needs to be changed.

At the same time, different  city departments need to work together in order to address the issue. That include every department – to each its role to address this complicated and complex issue. We will continue to discuss about this at another time.

Dr. Ngo-Viet concluded his talk by suggesting HCMC should promote development projects that allows the city to adapt to climate change, including development on the city’s northwest side, as well as preservation of heritage areas.

*Note: The original talk was in Vietnamese.

Photo Credit: Zing

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