Australian Water Association in Vietnam
Overview of Vietnam water sector
Major capital investments across Vietnam have delivered greater water security and safety in recent years. However, water infrastructure and services have often not kept pace with economic development. Ageing water supply systems struggle to cope with rapid growth in demand, and environmental management services are not adequately dealing with the final treatment and disposal of liquid or solid waste.
In addition to that, management efficiency of water utilities is often constrained by the lack of up-to-date and reliable information on the extent or condition of assets, low water tariffs and lack of accountability. Rising sea levels and new extremes in droughts and flood events are compounding the challenges facing the Vietnam water sector.
In terms of regulatory frameworks and institutions, in response to new risks, over the years there have been layers of new regulations and responsibilities imposed across the Vietnam water sector. Devolution of responsibilities to the provincial government, coupled with a greater role for the private sector is adding to the challenge.
One key point determining the development of the water sector in Vietnam is the access to capital and private sector involvement. Servicing expanding populations of Vietnam will require continued major capital expenditure and technological innovation. The Vietnam Government is actively encouraging private investors to provide the capital required or private service providers to enter the market. Despite strong national policy on public-private partnership, the sector is yet to attract significant private sector interest.
The Australian Water Association is working with the Vietnam Government and the broader water sector in four key areas:
- Strengthening the governance and service delivery of Vietnam water sector
- Public Private Partnerships in Water
- Technology demonstration and pathways to commercialisation
- Water operator "twinning"partnerships to enhance knowledge sharing and capacity building
Australian Government in Vietnam Water Sector
The Australian Government has played a significant role in the last six years enabling greater access to drinking water services for many rural and remote communities in Vietnam. The Australian Government is also working closely with many provinces to empower women in the use of Australian water technologies. The Australian government investment has been significant with a total of 80 million dollars going towards improving access to safe drinking water where traditional supply sources are not feasible. In 2011, 58% (or 38 million) of the Vietnam population did not have access to safe drinking water however, with Australian Government assistance this number is now decreasing at rapid pace.
Vietnam has made significant improvements in the water, sanitation
and hygiene sector in the past two decades, however important
regional disparities remain. Some provinces are only able to provide
clean water supply to 10 per cent of the population and 35 million
people in Vietnam’s rural areas still do not have clean water. Lack
of access to clean water is a significant cost to rural communities,
particularly women who carry the main responsibility for household
water needs. Improving water supply and sanitation infrastructure is
therefore not only a health priority, it is also an important strategy to
continue economic growth and reduce poverty in Vietnam.
Through Aus4Water Australia will support the Government of
Vietnam to discover innovative approaches to increase private sector
engagement in rural water supply, to replicate successful models
across Vietnam and to increase economic opportunities for women. For further information you can view the overview of Australia's aid program to Vietnam
. The Australian Water Sector is well positioned to play a future role to enable Vietnam achieve its Aus4Water objectives over the next five years.
Australians and Vietnamese: Personal ties
Paul Smith likes Vietnam so much he has visited the country 28 times in
20 years. He now has his ‘dream job’ as International Manager for the
Australian Water Association. In this role, he is in a prime position to connect
expertise within the Australian and Vietnam
water sectors. Read this and more stories in the DFAT brochure "Australians and Vietnamese: Personal ties" available for download here