Employees of the state-owned Saigon Water Corporation (Sawaco) have kicked off a community project to extend clean water supplies to outlying areas of Ho Chi Minh City by installing a ‘mother reservoir’ and donating about 330 storage tanks to locals.
The project has taken place in rural communes of Binh Chanh District, where a water pipe has not been installed due to huge construction costs.
Of the roughly 330 tanks given to poor families in the bordering communes of Phong Phu and Da Phuoc, Sawaco contributed around 230 tanks, and the other 100 came from two firms: the Ho Chi Minh City Infrastructure Investment Joint Stock Company and the Refrigeration Electrical Engineering Corporation.
Each 500-liter stainless-steel-made tank is worth VND2 million (US$96).
The costs have been covered by the salary contributions from workers at the companies.
In addition, Sawaco also installed a ‘mother reservoir’ in Phong Phu with a capacity of 5,000 liters to store clean water, which was then distributed to locals in Binh Chanh.
Every day, Sawaco will send tanker trucks to carry clean water to the reservoir, and locals can then either install water pipes themselves or transport water to their houses.
Only 34 percent of the population of Binh Chanh District has access to tap water thanks to a poor pipe network, according to Nguyen Van Tuoi, chairman of the district People’s Committee.
“So, the project is extremely useful,” he stressed.
There is urgent need for a clean water supply in Binh Chanh, as groundwater sources have become contaminated by growing amounts of alum and iron, according to Nguyen Huu Nghiep, chairman of the Phong Phu People’s Committee.
Locals have had to buy water for decades. A small 20-liter tank of water for drinking and cooking costs nearly $1.
For bathing water, local residents buy groundwater from the owner of a well in the area for VND10,000 (50 U.S. cents) per cubic meter.
It is expensive to drill a well in Binh Chanh because the groundwater is at least 200 meters below the surface. Therefore, not every family can afford their own water supply.
Regardless of the depth, most wells run out in the dry season.