HCM CITY (VNS)— More than 90 per cent of residents in HCM City's outlying districts have no access to tap water and are forced to use water from bore wells or collected rainfall.
Fewer than 10 per cent of people in the districts of Hoc Mon, Nha Be, Cu Chi, Binh Chanh and District 12 have access to tap water, according to the Sai Gon Water Supply Corporation (Sawaco).
Appearing on the Listen and Discuss talk show on HCM City Television last Sunday, Pham Van Dong, head of the municipal People's Council's Economic and Budget Division, said the quality of water from bore wells was poor.
Recently, the city's economic and budget division found that the quality of water in several bore wells in Hoc Mon District's Ba Diem Commune was contaminated by alum, he said.
Thousands of households in Hoc Mon's Ba Diem, Xuan Thoi Thuong and Dong Thanh communes have been using this bore-well water for years.
In Dong Thanh's Hamlet 1, 2, 3 and 7, where the Dong Thanh dump is located, groundwater is seriously polluted, affecting the health of local people.
Only well-off households can buy bottled water for drinking and eating.
Le Van Ton, a resident of Dong Thanh, said: "We wait for access to tap water day after day."
Nguyen Van Minh, who lives in District 9's Long Phuoc Ward, said neighbours used rain water but it now contained more dust.
When there is a shortage of rain water, tap water from tank trucks is bought at the high price of VND60,000 (US$2.8) a cu.m, he said.
About 200,000 households in the city now use well water that was deemed low-quality under city tests.
Nguyen Huu Tin, deputy chairman of the municipal People's Committee, said the city would test the quality of water resources used by local people and inform them which water resources were safe to use.
Bach Vu Hai, deputy general director of Sawaco, said the corporation planned to implement 220 water supply projects with total capital of VND2.2 billion ($104 million) in the 2014-15 period.
Some of the projects will be completed this year and the rest will have to wait for investment capital because Sawaco can only cover half of the capital for the projects, he said.
Tat Thanh Cang, director of the city's Department of Transport, suggested measures to supply clean water to people in outlying districts, including building water reservoirs to transport water to households in residential areas that are not densely populated.
In addition, water suppliers should streamline administrative procedures so that local people can use tap water at proper prices and not pay high prices for water from tank trucks.
Tin agreed with the measures suggested by the Department of Transport, saying that they would inspect the price of tap water sold from tank trucks this month.
Tin said the municipal People's Committee had assigned the corporation and the Department of Transport to draft a plan to call for new investors in the city's water supply sector.
Under the plan, Sawaco would be a water wholesaler and the investing companies would be water retailers. — VNS