350,000 more people to have access to clean water and sanitation
  • | | December 19, 2009 11:58 PM

Vietnam is to provide clean water and hygienic toilets to 350,000 people in six central coast provinces, as it seeks to stay on track to meet national service targets and Millennium Development Goals in the sector.

To support the government, ADB’s Board of Directors today approved a loan of $45 million for the Central Region Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Project. It will be used to fund the construction of piped water supply systems, to build or rehabilitate hygienic toilets in homes, schools, and health centers, and for hygiene awareness activities.

Project work will be carried out in poor rural areas in the provinces of Binh Dinh, Ha Tinh, Nghe An, Quang Binh, Quang Nam and Thanh Hoa. In the six project provinces, poverty rates are higher than the national average, the quality and availability of groundwater is poor, and sanitation coverage is low.

In the six project provinces, the quality and availability of groundwater is poor.

Vietnam has made significant headway in providing clean water and is on track to meet its goal of 85% coverage of the total population by 2010. In response to unmet needs, the government has been carrying out a second national target program for 2006-2010. It will expand access to clean water to an additional 14.7 million people, and hygienic toilets for 2.6 million households.

However, progress on improved sanitation has been slower and it is unlikely to meet its 2010 target of 70%. Around 75% of the population lives in rural areas, where knowledge of hygienic practices is weak, the sustainability of water supply is affected by cost barriers, and communities are often overlooked in the planning and provision of services.

“Better access to clean water and hygienic sanitation will improve public health, reduce poverty by cutting medical expenses and lost work days, and reduce the burden on women who are typically tasked to collect water and care for sick family members,” said Paul van Klaveren, Water Supply and Sanitation Specialist in ADB’s Southeast Asia Department.

Communities will be fully involved in the implementation of the project with grants and credit being provided directly to households to build latrines. Credit will go to households not designated as poor through a revolving fund managed by the Vietnam Women’s Union. To improve hygiene awareness, water and sanitation commune committees will be formed to support information and education activities, with at least 40% of the members, to be women.

The project will ensure service connections are provided at minimum cost allowing all households to benefit. By 2016, 90% of the population in the project communities will be connected to a water supply system, while 65,000 households will have access to hygienic toilets.

ADB’s loan, from its concessional Asian Development Fund, covers 90% of the project cost of $50 million. The loan has a 32-year term, including a grace period of 8 years, with interest charged at 1% per annum during the grace period, and 1.5% per year for the rest of the term. Government of Vietnam and project beneficiaries will make up the balance of the cost with in-kind and cash contributions totaling $5 million.

Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is the executing agency for the project, which is due for completion around the end of 2016.

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