Vietnamese water utility improvements continue

Posted 12 July 2018

Vietnam’s urban water sector is now seeing improved water and wastewater services delivered to almost 17 million customers under the Australian Water Association’s Vietnam – Australia Water Utility Improvement Program (WUIP, formerly known as Twinning). The program, which is supported by the Australian Water Partnership (AWP), has enabled the transfer of knowledge and expertise between five Australian and five Vietnamese water utilities to improve water service delivery. These utilities include:

• Son La Water Company – Cairns Regional Council, Water and Waste
• Saigon Water Corporation – Seqwater 
• Binh Duong Water Company – Wannon Water
• Phu Tho Water Company – Coliban Water
• Hue Water Company – Western Australia Water Corporation

The utilities involved presented on the outcomes and activity highlights from the program to date at the WUIP workshop at Ozwater’18 that attracted over 80 participants. These include:
  • Improved capacity of the five Vietnamese water utilities to deliver improved water services for over 10,681,765 customers of Ho Chi Minh City, Son La, Hue, Binh Duong and Phu Tho.
  • Productive working relationships established between the participating WUIP practitioners and between the five Australian and Vietnamese water utilities leading to enhanced reputation of the Australian water sector in Vietnam.
  • Professional development of staff from Australian water utilities through gaining international experience and appreciation for Vietnamese culture and water sector, leading to an increase in job satisfaction and staff retention.
  • Improvements across all five Vietnamese utilities over the course of the program in areas of:
    o Non-revenue water
    o Water quality compliance 
    o Business planning
    o Human resource planning and customer engagement 
    o Asset management 
  • Transfer and use of tools and knowledge from Australia to Vietnam to support:
    o Practical approaches to support asset management capabilities
    o Development and implementation of water quality safety plans
    o Implementation of risk management approaches to water quality management
    o Introduction and trialing of technologies to reduce non-revenue water
    o Enhanced customer and community engagement
    o HR and business planning protocols
  • The five Vietnamese utilities and the Vietnam Water Supply Association (VWSA) are now delivering training programs across Vietnam’s urban water sector extending the lessons learnt and tools transferred from the Australian utilities. 


With funding from AWP to extend the program from 18 months to 3 years, the utilities are now focused on the implementation of their action plans to include additional visits by both Australian and Vietnamese utilities. 

WUIP Day 1 Ozwater’18: Vietnam – Australia Workshops
Representatives from SAWACO and Seqwater discuss their discuss priorities for the year ahead
Representatives from SAWACO and Seqwater discuss their discuss priorities for the year ahead
BIWASE and Westernport Water discuss their proposed activities for August
BIWASE and Westernport Water discuss their proposed activities for August
WUIP Day 2 Ozwater’18: An open workshop was facilitated to allow Ozwater’18 delegates to attend and hear from each utility pair on the outcomes achieved to date.
Cristiano Carvalho, Water Corporation being interviewed by Ashleigh Rhind, Australian Water Partnership
Cristiano Carvalho, Water Corporation being interviewed by Ashleigh Rhind, Australian Water Partnership
Andrew Watkinson, Seqwater and Nguyen Thanh Su of SAWACO present at WUIP workshop
Andrew Watkinson, Seqwater and Nguyen Thanh Su of SAWACO present at WUIP workshop
The WUIP workshop participants also heard the outcomes from the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) undertaken by the University of New South Wales’ Global Water Institute. The learning from the M&E are now informing the delivery of the Vietnam program and supporting the development of a framework for planning the Indonesia – Australia WUIP.
Nick Schofield, CEO of Australian Water Partnership
Nick Schofield, CEO of Australian Water Partnership
Cao Lai Quang and Ngo Ming Hai, VWSA
Cao Lai Quang and Ngo Ming Hai, VWSA

Participants from the Vietnam – Australia WUIP workshop at Ozwater’18

Some attributable quotes from the workshop include:

“Cairns and Son La have developed a strong relationship through building the trust and appreciation for the different operating conditions that exist.” 
– Simon Page, Cairns Regional Council


“The focus of our relationship has been to undertake a multidisciplinary capacity building exercise in the areas of water supply and water utility management, this has led to improvements in staff skills.” 
– Cristiano Carvalho, Water Corporation


“Through the delivery of a short course on asset management to BIWASE we were able to focus our efforts towards improving asset register planning for the Thuận An Sewage Treatment Plant.” 
– Gary McLay, Westernport Water


“The key outcomes achieved between SAWACO and Seqwater to date have been the development of partnerships, sharing of experiences and identification of priorities to support SAWACO with their water service delivery.” 
– Andrew Watkinson, Seqwater


“We are confident of supporting Phu Tho WSC in the medium to long term to provide water of a drinking water standard to their customers.” 
– Neville Pearce, Coliban Water

"Developing and implementing a WUIP mid-term M&E initiative allowed a series of recommendations to be developed based on the actual experience of the water utility partners, capturing the professional and personal strength and experiences between the Vietnamese and Australian partners and using this to inform both the current and future WUIP implementation”
– Andrew Dansie, University of New South Wales – Global Water Institute

Each utility pair is now working towards a minimum of one trip prior to wrapping up at Ozwater’19 in Melbourne.
Son La visiting Cairns Regional Council, May 2018
Son La visiting Cairns Regional Council, May 2018
Pho Tho visiting Coliban Water, May 2018
Pho Tho visiting Coliban Water, May 2018
Son La visiting Cairns Regional Council, May 2018
SAWACO delegation visiting Seqwater in June 2018
Cairns regional Council and Son La delegation
Cairns regional Council and Son La delegation
Pho Tho delegation with Coliban Water staff
Pho Tho delegation with Coliban Water staff
Son La visiting Cairns Regional Council, May 2018
SAWACO delegation visiting Seqwater in June 2018

Express your interest in participating in the Indonesia – Australia WUIP

The Association is now calling for expressions of interest for Australian utilities to get involved in the Indonesia – Australia WUIP planned for commencement at the end of 2018. If your water utility is interested in getting involved in the program please contact Robbie Goedecke.

Related pages:

Join the Australian delegation to Vietwater’18 

The Water Utility Improvement Program is supported by:

DFAT