|An abandoned clean water supply station in Dak Lak Province's Tia Village. More than 60 clean water supply stations have been left idle in the province. — Photo baotainguyenmoi-truong.com.vn
DAK LAK (VNS) — Billions of dong have been poured into clean water supply facilities in the central highlands province of Dak Lak, but locals don't see any clean water pouring out of their faucets.
According to the Dak Lak Rural and Agricultura Development Department, the province has 133 concentrated water supply facilities that cost VND345 billion (US$15.6 million). The water was to supply 34,000 poor households and their 170,000 inhabitants. However, 64 water supply stations are in poor condition or stopped working altogether.
That's half of the facilities in the province left idle.
In Dlie Yang commune of Ea H'leo district, a VND1 billion water supply facility was built ten years ago to serve 717 households in an ethnic community. Four years ago it stopped working after a history of issues. In some places a pump broke down, in others a broken pipeline turned households dry.
Most of the households cannot pay money for a new pump or repairs, so they continue to use water found in rivers and streams.
In Buon Ma Thuot city, several water supply works were out of order for several years. From 2003 to 2005, a Danish government organization stepped in and invested VND2.7 trillion($126 million) to build seven water supply works for Hoa Xuan commune's 1,153 households. The four facilities currently don't work. Three remaining stations work but are sub-par and can only provide enough water for 188 households.
Pham Phu Bon, the provincial director of the local Rural Environmental Sanitation and Clean Water Centre blames water station employees' lack of management experience.
Most of them, he said, haven't been equipped with the basic knowledge needed to use and maintain facility equipment, nor how to use funds for maintenance.
Other issues were even bigger in scope. Bon said several stations were built but couldn't be put into operation quickly due to a lack of electricity and water, and because of long absences of management board.
"The investor handed over the water works to the local authorities for management, however we lack the money and skills to maintain the works," he said.
"Moreover, people are not aware of the importance of clean water, so they don't pay much attention or contribute to maintaining those facilities. Many also used water without paying money and yet still want to rely on State support to deal with the incidents", he said.
The province has set a target to provide 60 litres of clean water to each of its rural residents per person per day by 2020. — VN