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HCM City aims to reduce groundwater use

HCM City, October 31 (VNA) – Ho Chi Minh City is considering an eight-year plan to reduce the exploitation of groundwater resources in an aim to protect residents’ health and avoid risks of land subsidence. 

The city’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment has submitted the plan to the city’s People’s Committee for approval. 

Under the plan, the total volume of groundwater exploitation would be reduced to 330,000cu.m a day by 2019; about 200,000cu.m a day from the 2020-23 period, and 100,000cu.m a day by 2025. 

Nguyen Thi Thanh My, deputy director of the department, said that over 700,000cu.m of groundwater were exploited daily in the city, mostly serving households and manufacturing activities. 

The department will gradually reduce groundwater exploitation in 24 districts; stop the operation of old and illegal water wells; and install tap water systems in the areas where groundwater is tapped. 

The water wells for irrigation and animal husbandry will be allowed to operate in outlying districts, according to My. 

The city’s People’s Committee has asked the department to compile a list of locations where groundwater exploitation could endanger local residents and the environment. 

In addition, the city will not issue new licences to exploit underground water, and will strictly punish violators. 

The department and district authorities will be asked to promote awareness of the damage of over-exploitation of groundwater resources, and to call on residents and enterprises to stop using well water. 

Protection measures and management solutions will be identified to ensure sustainable water exploitation. 

Groundwater can be harmful to users’ health because of dangerous chemicals or wastewater. 

According to a recent Preventive Health Centre investigation, water samples from wells showed concentrations of iron, pH, E.coli bacteria and ammonia that failed to meet standards set by the Ministry of Health. 

Besides depletion of groundwater, excessive exploitation can also cause land subsidence and flooding. 

Since the beginning of the year, the city has supplied clean water to all residents, but many households for years have refused to use available tap water.