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Saigon Is Sinking Fast Due to Too Much Groundwater Extraction, Experts Say

In late March 2018, the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee issued a plan to close groundwater wells in the city.

Saigon authorities ordered the Saigon Water Corporation (Sawaco) to come up with a detailed scheme to close the wells, many of which were created by Sawaco in the past and left unused. The rest are used by local companies and households. After one year, the project's progress remains slow, Thanh Nien reports.

On June 15, Sawaco and officials of Binh Thanh District organized a ceremony to raise awareness among residents about the impact of using groundwater wells, according to the news source. The water company and officials believe that groundwater well usage is contributing to the city's subsidence.

According to a research project conducted from 2014 to 2017 in Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta, some places are sinking at a rapid rate. The worst sinkage was measured in An Lac Ward of Binh Tan District in Saigon — 81.4 centimeters, followed by a ward in Bac Lieu Province at 62.2 centimeters.

Sawaco claims that of Saigon's approximately 1.49 million water meters, 124,500 show zero water use. According to their most recent statistics, the rate of groundwater usage for the city is 716,581 cubic meters per day.

In Binh Thanh District alone, 33 organizations and 273 households use groundwater wells, with total usage of 367 cubic meters per day, the news source shares. The district aims to reduce this number to 95.4 cubic meters per day this year.

District authorities and Sawaco are hoping to slow the rate at which the soil is sinking by raising awareness so that new water wells aren't dug and the existing ones can be closed off, along with tightened regulations regarding the exploitation of wells.

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