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Saigon Students Win National Contest With Water Leak App

Students from the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology took home the top prize last week at the Swedish embassy’s Smart Water Innovation Contest in Hanoi for an app that maps leaks in the city’s water system.

The app, currently part of an initiative known as “Reduce Water Leaks by a Mobile Device”, uses GPS to record the location of a water pipe leak and automatically notifies technicians of the problem, reports Taiwanese news outlet China Post.

Students Trinh Quoc Anh, Nguyen Tran Quang Khai and Vo Phi Long developed the technology after learning of Saigon’s high volume of water leakage. In 2015, nearly 30% of the city’s water usage was the result of leaks in the city’s water pipes, Anh told China Post.

Compared to 3% in Tokyo, 4% in Singapore and 12% in Sydney, water loss is a significant issue in the southern hub.

“In comparison to other big cities in the world, the volume of water loss in Ho Chi Minh City is very high," Bach Vu Hai, deputy general director of the Saigon Water Corporation (Sawaco), told the news outlet. “Who pays for the loss? Nobody but us. It is not only a waste of money but also natural resources because people in many remote areas do not receive enough clean water.”

Though the app is still in development, the three students aim to create a platform on which users can mark the location of a leaky pipe. Technicians will then visit the site to assess the problem. The more users identify a water leak, the greater priority that particular leak receives.

According to Sawaco data, Saigon’s water system includes 5,462 kilometers of pipes in various shapes and sizes. Of those pipes, 642 kilometers have been in use for over 30 years, making the system prone to leaks.

For its part, Sawaco aims to reduce the city’s water loss rate to 25% by 2025.

Now with a win under their belt, Anh, Long and Khai will move on from the Vietnamese competition to Stockholm, Sweden, where the annual World Water Week will take place in August.


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