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Vietnam: Urban Wastewater Review



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•    Since 1998, Vietnam has made important strides in the wastewater sector:


-    In the past 10 years, average annual investment for the sanitation sector was $150 million, or 0.45 percent of the country’s annual GDP.

-    As of 2012, 17 municipal wastewater plants had been constructed and 32 more are being designed or under construction.

-    Access to toilets stands at 94 percent, with 90 percent of households using septic tanks as a means of on-site treatment.

-    Sixty percent of households dispose of wastewater using a public sewerage system.

•    Despite these gains, the sanitation sector needs to address critical issues:

-    Although 60 percent of households dispose of wastewater through a public sewerage system, much of this goes to the drainage system with only 10 percent of the wastewater treated.

-    While 90 percent of households dispose wastewater to septic tanks, only 4 percent of the septage is treated.

-    Cost recovery of the capital, operation and maintenance costs of the wastewater systems is generally low.

-    Wastewater enterprises have limited autonomy to manage operations and undertake system development.

-    Estimated economic losses resulting from poor sanitation is $780 million per year or 1.3 percent of GDP.

-    Financing needs are still very high, estimated at $8.3 billion for sewerage services to an estimated urban population of 36 million by 2025.

•    Recommendations:

To National Policy Makers:

-    Establish a national strategy applying integrated water resource management principles.

-    Develop appropriate financing policies and mechanisms for the sanitation sector for both investment and operation and maintenance.

-    Develop policies to address utility reform of the sanitation sector.

-    Develop policies to encourage public-private partnerships and private sector participation.

-    Allow some flexibility in the application of different treatment standards depending on receiving waters.
 
To Local Government and Local Sanitation Service Providers:

-    Adopt a strategic sanitation planning approach at the city level.

-    Promote efficient institutional and regulatory arrangements at the local level.

-    Adopt centralized or decentralized wastewater systems depending on the local situation.

-    Select appropriate wastewater treatment technologies.

-    Ensure house connections are an integral part of wastewater system development.

-    Prepare a roadmap to increase revenue and achieve cost recovery.

-    Develop the capacity of local stakeholders.

-    Increase awareness of sanitation service customers to promote behavior change.