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Saigon Losing 33% of Its Tap Water Due To Leaky Pipes

It may be hard to tell during the rainy season when Saigon’s streets are flooded with rainwater, but a new study shows that the city loses a great deal of its tap water due to leaky pipes.

The report compiled by Saigon Water Corporation (Sawaco) found that the city’s water loss rate currently stands at 33.5%, a number experts say is far above the 5-7% that most countries experience, reports Thanh Nien.

Measured at the end of 2014, the loss rate was 500,000 cubic meters per day, “equal to the daily capacity of a medium-sized water plant in the city,” wrote the paper. Given that the price of water in the city is VND5,300, Saigon’s coffers are leaking VND2.6 billion per day.

For the sake of comparison the water loss rate for neighboring Binh Duong and Ba Ria-Vung Tau Provinces stood at 8%.

A Sawaco official told the newspaper that beyond weak management controls, Saigon’s water infrastructure is in its current state due to other issues including damage caused by infrastructure projects; a large number of connection points; poor work on the part of contractors and the fact that some portions of the system date back to the colonial era.

However, instead of focusing on upgrading the water infrastructure, the city has approved a plan to increase water prices by 10.5% each year over the next five years. As such, Pham Van Dong, a former member of the city’s legislative office, said that the cost of the system’s inefficacy will be passed on to consumers.

Dr. Ngo Hoang Van from Ho Chi Minh’s Water and Environment Association said that a recent $44 million World Bank-backed project to reduce water loss was “ineffective” though the city has yet to explain why.

[Photo via Terekhova]

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