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Updated: 2021-08-16 14:40:38

Solving the problem of safe water use in rural mountainous of Yen Bai

(VBSP News) In the last three years, Yen Bai province has mobilized resources to focus on building and implementing water supply works for people in rural areas. However, efficiency of some projects is still limited, the percentage of households using safe water is not high. To achieve the target of 98% of people using safe water by 2025, the province needs to implement more synchronous solutions.

yen bai

People in Thach Luong commune, Nghia Lo town use safe and hygienic water

People are not willing to use safe water

Visited the domestic water supply works for 3 communes Thach Luong, Thanh Luong, Phu Nham in Nghia Lo town, with a capacity of 1,157m³/day, taking surface water from the Nam Tang stream coming from the high peaks of Tram Tau. The project has been invested since 2017 with a cost of VND 21 billion, ensuring safe water supply for 2,200 households in the area. Deputy Director of Nghia Van Co., Ltd. Nguyen Thanh Nam said that currently, there are only more than 1,000 customers using it, the average water price is 5,841 thousand VND/m3, monthly revenue is more than 50 million VND which is not enough to compensate depreciation.

Looking for the reason, we went uphill to Cai village, Thach Luong commune, Nghia Lo town, where 51 Thai households have just been resettled at the end of 2020, so far, they have basically stabilized their lives. Ms. Lo Thi Yen said that she only pays VND 20 thousand per month, it is cheaper than concentrated domestic water.

Director of Nghia Lo Water Supply Joint Stock Company Nguyen Xuan Doan shared: “Currently, the unit is operating a safe water supply project for Nghia Lo town and Mu Cang Chai town, with more than 10,000 customers. Despite many management measures, the water loss rate is still at more than 20%, greatly affecting revenue. The safe water supply station in Mu Cang Chai town invested VND 4 billion, supplying 500 households in the area, but people prefer using self-flowing ravine water without spending money, so the revenue is only more than VND 20 million per month. Revenue is not enough, although water price for poor households in extremely disadvantaged areas is only 4,762 VND/m3.

People who do not want to spend money to buy concentrated domestic water, they share the reasons that water smells of alum, chlorine which make tea loses its taste. they do not understand that it is water that has been disinfected and filtered, safe and meet the standards for use, ensure hygiene. In the future, we will continue to propagate and mobilize people in the area to use safe water.”

Government efforts

Since 2017, Yen Bai province has implemented the program to expand the scale of rural safe water and sanitation with loans from the World Bank, and built 26 centralized drinking water supply projects. By 2020, there have been 19 completed domestic water supply works, supplying water to more than 7,000 households in communes: Dong An, Hung Khanh, Phong Du Thuong, Y Can, Yen Phu, Cat Thinh... In 2021, the province will build 7 more concentrated drinking water supply projects to achieve the program's goals, providing safe and hygienic water for 11,185 households.

Tran Yen is the first district in the Northwest region to meet new rural standards, with contribution of VBSP, helping thousands of households escape poverty and have safe water and hygiene toilets.

In 2016, Mrs. Do Thi Thuy's family in Hoa Cuong commune borrowed VND 12 million from VBSP to drill a well of 25m deep, pump water to a tank 3m height for cooking, watering vegetables, and raising livestock. Ms. Thuy excitedly said: "My family has just finished paying off the bank debt, so far, we no longer have to worry about lack of water for living when the dry season comes ...". Currently, the district has more than 900 households borrowing more than VND 18 billion from VBSP to build safe and hygienic water systems.

Director of VBSP in Yen Bai province Nguyen Thanh Hai said that in the period 2006-2020, the bank was allocated VND 353 billion for safe water and rural sanitation loans. Along with the recovered capital for revolving loans, 64,992 turns of households in rural areas have borrowed capital with a loan turnover of VND 749 billion. Loans have been invested in building, repairing and renovating 60,974 safe water works and 60,181 standard sanitation works. Due to good communication and supervision, together with cooperation of the network of entrusted mass organisations at commune level and Savings and Credit groups, most borrowers have strictly complied with their debt repayment obligations.

As of December 31, 2020, the total outstanding balance of the rural safe water and sanitation loan program in the whole province was VND 352 billion, with 21,810 active customers contributing to make proportion of households using safe water in rural Yen reach more than 90%.

However, the majority of rural water supply projects in Yen Bai have small scale of water supply, dispersed population which made operation and management hard and give low business profit from safe water supply and production. Besides, safe water works are often damaged due to natural disasters and the depletion of water resources in the dry season greatly affects water supply for concentrated water supply works. Most of the domestic water works are developed in remote and isolated area where awareness level of a part of the people is still limited, and awareness of protecting and preserving the works is not high as well.

Mr. Luong Van Khoa - Head of Noong My village, Son Luong commune, Van Chan district said that more than 80 Thai households were resettled after the 2018 flash flood. In 2021, the village was invested with 1.5 billion to build safe water works for villagers. The source is taken from the Khuoi Ma stream which flows through a filter tank by itself. Local people collects 2,000 VND/m³ for the team to self-manage and maintain the work, especially to maintain clearance of the flow, the barrier to the watershed, and not to let buffaloes and cows’ wastes affect water resources.

This "State invests, local groups manage, and people benefit" model like in Noong My needs to be replicated to end the situation of 39 abandoned safe water works in the past time.

Thanh Son



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