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Viet Nam Water Action: Ho Chi Minh's Helping Hands

Viet Nam Water Action: Ho Chi Minh's Helping Hands

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Published by: adbwaterforall on Oct 23, 2012
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Country water actions are stories that showcase water reforms undertaken by individuals,communities, organizations, and governments in Asia-Pacific countries and elsewhere.
Country Water ActionsViet Nam: Ho Chi Minh's Helping Hands
July 2010
Senior Urban Development Specialist Ho Chi Minh City's People's Committee is preparing a MasterPlan for its water system up to 2025 and has accepteddevelopment partners' and the private sector's helpinghands.
Viet Nam's Ho Chi Minh Cityis pumped up to bring waterto 100% of the city'spopulation by 2025.Increasing water supplycoverage, currently at 76%,means increasing capacityfrom 1.2 million to 3.5million cubic meters per day(cmd) of treated water andconsiderable investments for improving the distributionnetwork and storage system. The indicative capital programfrom the sector roadmap amounts to US$3 billion over thenext 15 years.About 70% of Ho Chi Minh's water supply sources comefrom the Dong Nai River in the east while 23% comes fromthe Saigon River in the west. The Saigon Water Corporation(SAWACO) connects about 734,000 households through adistribution network of some 3,800 kilometers, with anefficiency ratio of 5 staff per 1,000 connections. Service iscontinuous, water quality is high, and annual revenuesexceed US$100 million. About 93% of water producedcomes from four surface water treatment plants (Thu Duc,Tan Hiep, Binh An, and Thu Duc). The rest comes fromgroundwater.SAWACO faces several challenges in the areas of profitgeneration, financial management, management of costsand service delivery, and strengthening institutionalcapacity. Better tariff structures and measures to reducenonrevenue water (NRW, currently at about 40%) need tobe implemented to improve financial and operatingperformance. Subsidiary entities, a number of them, needto be consolidated to maximize efficiency - a more coherentplan for both strategic and financial participation by theprivate sector is needed.The Ho Chi Minh City's People's Committee is considering allthese in preparing a Master Plan for the city water systemup to 2025. Faced with such as formidable tasks, the cityknows it will need all the help it can get. 
Ho Chi Minh City, formerly and more popularly known asSaigon, is Viet Nam's largest city, and the country's mostimportant commercial and industrial center. Population iscurrently at 7.9 million people, growing at about 2.1% perannum, and will likely reach 13.5 million by 2020. The city'seconomy is also growing at around 12% annually,substantially faster than the national economy at 8%. Theseastounding growths place very serious strains on the city'salready inadequate infrastructure, and not least on its watersupply system.Ho Chi Minh City, along with the provinces of Dong Nai, BaRia-Vung Tau and Binh Duong, make up the Key SouthernEconomic Region, an economic bloc that contributes about33.2% to the country's gross domestic product. The regionis expected by 2020 to raise GDP and average annual exportvalues, speed up technological renovation and economicrestructuring, and ensure balanced development witheconomic and social infrastructure taking the lead.Developing satellite urban centers around big cities whichare linked with industrial and hi-tech parks are also planned.Ho Chi Minh City is envisioned by 2020 to become a centerof regional and international trade and finance.A parallel objective for waterin the region is thedevelopment of interconnected water supply,drainage, and environmentalsanitation facilities. Water forthe region will be mostlyexploited from Dong Nai,Saigon and Tien Rivers andTri An and Dau Tiengreservoirs, with groundwater only used for small areasdistant from surface water sources. To achieve these, HoChi Minh needs to strengthen SAWACO's partnership withdevelopment partners and the private sector.
SAWACO has been coordinating few projects financed byDevelopment Partners to assist in achieving a sustainablewater supply delivery service in Ho Chi Minh.The Government of France has financed a pilot project todetermine the components and characteristics of waterlosses in the north-east area of Thu Duc. This project wascompleted in 2008 and was helpful in highlighting underlyingcauses of NRW including poor construction practices andwater theft. 

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