The Vietnam Results-based Rural Water Supply and Sanitation under the National Target Program aimed to increase sustained access to water supply and sanitation services and improve sector planning, monitoring and evaluation in eight geographically clustered provinces. From 2013 to 2018 the project achieved the following results:
- More than 1.8 million people gained access to improved water resources and more than 1.4 million people gained access to improved sanitation services.
- The average coverage for water supply and sanitation services in participating communes reached 72% and 88% respectively in 2018, up from the baseline of 36% and 56% in 2012.
- The construction time of water and sanitation infrastructure was cut by 58% and construction costs by unit were cut by 63%. The size of water schemes in terms of average number of household connections increased by 353%.
- Water supply schemes supported under the program were incentivized to meet all of the robust sustainability criteria for a minimum of two years—operating under recognized management models, with low water losses, a high ratio of household connections billed, and a positive cost recovery ratio.
- 191 communes achieved Commune-Wide Station (CWS) status, benefiting 1.4 million people; of which 184 communes also achieved the Sustainable CWS status. In these communes, 100% of facilities in schools and health centers were in proper maintenance, which previously was a challenge.
- The rural water supply and sanitation planning, monitoring and evaluation process at both national and local levels was streamlined to follow a highly structured and scientific approach, and elements of the PforR approach were incorporated into broader national programs.
World Bank Group Contribution
The International Development Association (IDA) provided a US$200 million credit for the program in 2013. The PforR was also supported by a parallel Technical Assistance program financed through an A$8 million trust fund from the Government of Australia.
New water facilities sprung up in many communes across the Red River Delta as a result of this PforR. (Photo: PforR Coordination Office / Directorate of Water Resources / Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development)
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development was the lead agency on the water supply component, working in close co-ordination with their provincial level counterparts. The Vietnam Health Environment Management Agency, under the Ministry of Health, assumed the similar role for sanitation. The State Audit of Vietnam conducted results verification. The Ministry of Education supported water and sanitation activities in schools. Particularly on sanitation, the community-wide station approach incentivized the Water, Sanitation and Education sectors to work jointly to achieve integrated water and sanitation services solutions commune-wide.
As the PforR was new to Vietnam, the World Bank, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Government of Vietnam worked hand in hand throughout the ‘results-based’ learning process. The capacity building and technical assistance support provided by DFAT in the early program years was vital to lay the groundwork for solid results.
The PforR experience was instrumental to introduce a more demand-driven, result-based approach for planning, investment and operations of water and sanitation schemes in rural Vietnam. This approach showed an effective way to address the sector’s long-lasting conundrum – how to ensure operational and financial sustainability of water and sanitation schemes in the long run? The success of this program led to another IDA-financed PfoR project that began in 2016 and works on a larger scale in 21 provinces – Results-Based Scaling Up Rural Sanitation and Water Supply Program.
A resident from Xuan Lai Commune, Vinh Phuc Province: “Once I knew the piped water supply was available, I signed up immediately because my family is thirsty for clean water. The cost is quite the same as before, it is the water quality that makes all the difference. We used to rely on a well to supply water for every household activity. The well water was usually loaded with sediment which stained our laundry and corroded our things. It sometimes smelled bad and looked dirty. Now I just turn on the tap, and a stream of fresh, sediment-free water flows from it–I feel like we are living in the city.”
School with upgraded handwashing facilities supported by the Program. (Photo: Le Tuyen Hong Hai / World Bank)