Australia works with Vietnam to improve water quality control

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam and Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Hugh Borrowman co-chaired a productive seminar on water quality control in Hanoi on March 26th.

Funded by the Australian Government, this event contributes to public health, the economic and social development of Vietnam, and strengthens inter-sectoral and international collaboration in the water and sanitation sector.

Acknowledging the health and economic impact of unsafe water, senior government officials, academics and international civil society organisations at the seminar discussed the status of water quality control in Vietnam and assessed the barriers and constraints to effective water quality control, including issues related to institutional, financial and human resources.

The Deputy Prime Minister reinforced the Government’s commitment to improving water quality and emphasized the need to raise public awareness, enhance effective regulatory regimes and improve market-oriented incentives.

Australia has been an active partner for Vietnam in the water sector since 1993, and provided AUD122 million, including budget and technical support, through the National Target Program for Rural Water Supply and Sanitation from 2006 to 2015.

Australia has provided technical assistance in key areas such as sector planning, financial risk management and water quality control, as well as promoting private sector participation and Public - Private - Partnership. It has also provided water quality testing laboratories for 15 provinces, assisted the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in developing and rolling out a Water Quality Control Action Plan, and assisted Vinh Phuc, Tuyen Quang, An Giang and Tra Vinh provinces in developing a strategy to address rural household water quality issues.

In the coming years, Australian experts will continue helping Vietnam in promoting water quality treatment technologies (especially low cost options for rural areas), enhancing governance in this area, and developing and promoting private sector participation in providing water services to rural people.

Vietnam has enjoyed increased access to hygienic water sources, from 57% in 1990 to 84.5% in 2014, and increased sanitation access from 37% in 1990 to 62.5% last year. While considerable improvements have been made, the country still faces many challenges that can only be overcome through enhanced efforts.