The main drainage channels in Vientiane need to be cleaned yearly to allow water to flow free and to protect against floods, but some channels were receiving inadequate funding for the work.
The admission was made by an official from the Vientiane Urban Development and Administration Authority (VUDAA), who asked not to be named. She told Vientiane Times on Monday that the capital had 21 major drainage channels and storm water drains that had to be cleaned and repaired every year.
More specifically, most of the channels need to be cleaned at least once or even twice a year but this isn’t always happening due to funding shortfalls with capital authorities presently only allocating around half of the four to five billion kip required.
“The budget should be used to clean and repair all storm water drains and channels several times, but in reality we have to prioritise the most important work early on,” she mentioned.
However, the budget received has been sufficient in some years but not in others, she added.
Currently, work is being carried out removing sediment build-up, waste, waterweeds and grass from channels at Hongsaeng and Khouvieng but workers wading through the drainage water have complained of allergic reactions such as itchy feet and legs. Last year, several roads were covered with storm water from heavy downpours when more than 100 millimetres of rainfall was recorded in a short space of time.
Areas inundated included roads at That Luang traffic lights in Xaysettha district, Chinaimo junction in Hadxaifong district and Phonthong junction in Chanthabouly district.
The storm water flooding was put down to heavy rainfall and a failure of blocked drainage channels to hope with plastic bags and other rubbish often the reason for blockages.
The blockages resulted in floodwaters receding more slowly, often taking days.
Following the flooding Vientiane Mayor Dr Sinlavong Khoutphaythoun advised VUDAA authorities to re-excavate storm water drains in several areas due to channels being blocked by unauthorised landfills for home and business construction.
He ordered the blocked drains to be cleared in order to ensure water flows to Vientiane marshes.