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Ha Noi suburbs face shortage of clean water

Update: February, 06/2014 - 09:22
Workers examine the spraying system at Water Supply and Drainage Facility 1 in Ha Noi's Me Linh District. The lack of funding leaves many water supply works unused in suburban districts of Ha Noi, leading to clean water shortages for local residents. — VNA/VNS Photo Anh Tuan

HA NOI (VNS)— Nearly 65 per cent of Ha Noi's suburban residents were not getting enough clean water at the end of 2013, due to funds shortage and poor management by the local authorities.

The residents of Ba Vi District's Phu Son Commune are suffering due to lack of safe water supply and many have to use the water from wells, stagnant ponds and streams.

"For decades, we have been using such water sources for daily activities such as bathing and cleaning and have to reserve rainwater for drinking," the commune's People's Committee chairman Chu Anh Tuan recently told Ha Noi Moi (New Ha Noi) newspaper.

As there was no other source of water, localities were forced to use water from unsafe sources even though the people were aware of the risks and harmful effects, said Tuan.

Draft statistics revealed that some 50 per cent of the commune's population had to buy clean water from vendors in recent years, at prices ranging from VND70,000 to 100,000 (US$3-5) per cubic metre.

On average, a family has to buy four to six cubic metres of clean water per month, though the source of this water is not clearly identified.

Phung Nghia Phong, a resident in Phu Huu Hamlet, said his family spent VND2 to 2.5 million ($95-119) annually on buying clean water, while the total annual income of the four-member family is between VND15 to 17 million ($700-800).

Those who cannot afford to buy clean water have to dig holes in their gardens, and pump sand and water from the Da river, ponds and lakes so that the water seeps into wells.

The lack of clean water has also been reported in many other suburban areas such as Soc Son, Ba Vi, Me Linh, Gia Lam, Phu Xuyen and Ung Hoa districts.

Up to 80 per cent of Thach That District's population has particularly suffered from a serious shortage of fresh water in both dry and rainy seasons for the past 10 years.

In order to tackle the problem, the city has spent over VND100 billion (nearly $5 million) on a project that will supply clean water to Ha Noi's rural areas by 2020, according to Dao Duy Tam, deputy director of the city's Agriculture and Rural Development Department.

Under the project, 123 clean water supply works have been built in the suburban districts of the city but many of them have not been used for four or five years due to shortage of funds and poor management by the local authorities, Tam said. In addition, the local authorities have not paid adequate attention to managing and maintaining the treatment plants, he added.

Ha Noi set a target two months ago that the whole rural population would have access to clean water by 2015, and 60 per cent of them will have clean water that meets the Health Ministry's standards. — VNS


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