About 30 per cent of the town’s households currently use untreated underground water directly which with without assured hygiene which significantly increases exposure to waterborne pathogens causing skin diseases and diarrhea.
Some 20 per cent of the town’s households are using rain-water, which in recent years has been quite unreliable. Climate change trends indicate more irregular patterns of rainfall and high temperatures which when combined with seasonal variation from El Nino makes water supply a significant issue. Extensive use of groundwater is unsustainable and groundwater levels have been consistently dropping.
Consequently about 50 per cent of the population routinely purchase water from private water providers at a price of VND66,000 ($3) per cubic meter, or about 10 times the price paid by other residents who are connected to the main reticulated water supply system.
In this context, there is an urgency to expand Luong Son’s clean water supply system.
Implemented as part of the Belgium-funded project of “Integrated water resource management and urban planning related to climate change” the water supply system will be expanded by installing 19.2 kilometers of pipes along the main roads. The investment value of the works is VND9.947 billion ($452,000) coming from a combination of Belgian grant funds and Vietnamese government counterpart funds.
Implemented in early 2018, the works will use high-quality HDPE pipes to supply clean water to about 2,000 households in the Luong Son area. After completion about 90 per cent of Luong Son town’s population will have sufficient clean water for their daily needs. Households will be able to save about VND6.7 billion ($304,545) per year compared to the cost they are currently paying for water purchased from private water providers. It is also estimate that due to the accessibility of clean water, the savings in avoided health care services will amount to about VND2.8 billion ($127,000) per year.
At present, the project’s management board and the town’s authorities have been seeking comment and feedback from Luong Son inhabitants about the project’s details.
According to Tran Van Hung, vice-chairman of the town, all people here feel very happy with the upcoming project, because they will have clean water for their daily use.
“Many households stand ready to create the best conditions for the site clearance in service of the project, and contribute their money and labour to the project,” Hung said. “They will have sufficient clean water and will also have better living standards. In addition, they will also not have to purchase barrels of water in the dry season at a very high price.”
“The project will make the town more civilized,” he added.
(Combined and written from articles posted in the website of the project in Binh Thuan province – www.pcubt.org.vn )