Vietnam: Greenhouses' bad draining system blamed for frequent Da Lat flooding

Da Lat floods regularly whenever it rains heavily because of massive greenhouse development and rapid urbanization that consumes all the available green space, write Phuoc Tuan and Khanh Hung in Da Lat, a popular hill resort town of Lam Dong Province, was severely flooded Thursday following a 30-minute downpour, with the downtown area being under nearly a meter of water.

Vo Ngoc Trinh, vice chairman of the town people's committee, said the flooding in recent days, especially on Thursday afternoon, only occurred in some low-lying areas and near streams, not across town as many people think. There are many factors behind the recent flooding, such as greenhouses and others, and not just an inadequate drainage system, he said. One problem might be that heavy rains in a short period of time do cause flash floods, but that is not the main problem.

The problem might as well be the sudden increase in greenhouses, especially in the agricultural areas on both sides of the Cam Ly Stream. From having just a few scattered greenhouses in the late 1990s, it has them covering 10,000 hectares out of a total agricultural land area of 18,000 ha.

They are in all wards and communes though some wards in the inner-city area have a high density of greenhouses. As seen from above, the city clearly does not have a lot of green space, with glass greenhouses popping up amid pine forests all over the suburbs. According to experts, the ability of greenhouses to absorb water is nearly zero, while many lakes like Van Kiep, Thanh Nien, Tam Tu, Da Thien 1 and 2, and others have been wiped out or shrunk, causing poor drainage during rains.

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