Mekong Delta residents dream of “eating clean, drinking safe”

VietNamNet Bridge – The government has set a goal of providing 60 liters of clean water per person per day to rural areas by 2015.

Mekong Delta, safe water, clean water

The Mekong River Delta is called by Vietnamese as “Cuu Long River Delta”, or the delta, where a river with nine major branches bears the task of regulating the water level to prevent floods and droughts, thus helping create a populous and rich delta.

Therefore, local residents in Mekong River Delta are believed to have “more than enough fresh water” to use.

However, in fact, it is very difficult to ensure sufficient clean water for people’s daily use and industrial production in the locality.

Thousands of households in Long An, Ben Tre and Tien Giang provinces complain that they have been lacking clean water seriously for many years, especially in the dry season.

Dan Viet reported that local residents have to buy fresh water at VND100,000 per cubic meter, or 17 times higher than the water price fixed by the State.

As such, the average income per capita, estimated at VND3.3 million a month, is just enough to buy 33 cubic meters of water a month.

Nguyen Van Viet from Can Giuoc in Long An province said in the newspaper that his family only uses 0.5 cubic meters of fresh water every day, because “fresh water is as expensive as gold”.

Viet said local residents have been relying on rain water for many years.

However, as the weather has been severe recently, the rain water reserves are getting exhausted, and the clean water shortage has become more serious than ever.

According to Nguyen Ha Long, acting chair of Phuoc Vinh Tay Commune, rain water is the major source of water supply for local residents, because the soil there has suffered from salinity and alum intrusion.

Eighty percent of local residents reportedly have to buy fresh water from private suppliers, who carry water from other localities.

Meanwhile, the other 20 percent use the water taken from a well in Long Phung Commune of Can Giuoc District.

Every household in the area reportedly has to spend VND150,000-500,000 to buy fresh water, which is a burden on poor households.

The clean water shortage is not only a problem of Mekong River Delta, but of many localities in the northern and central regions as well.

Therefore, the government approved the 2000-2020 national clean water program, aiming to provide enough water to rural residents and contribute to the country’s socio-economic development.

In the 2011-2015 period, the first phase of the program, 85 percent of rural residents are expected to be able to use clean water, 45 percent of which would be water that \meets the QCVN 02-BYT standard set by the Ministry of Health.

The goal is to have 100 percent of schools and communes’ healthcare centers with clean water.

A report showed that 15,000 water supply works have been built over the last 15 years, and put under different modes of management.

Forty-eight percent of the works have been put under the community’s control. Nineteen percent are being managed by provincial clean water centers, 11 percent by private investors, 12 percent by communes’ authorities, 5 percent by enterprises, 3 percent by cooperatives and 2 percent by management boards.

Thien Nhien

Mekong Delta, safe water, clean water