Vietnam needs $9B worth of water infrastructure investment: World Bank


Vietnam's water demand will increase by 32% by 2030, requiring around $9 billion worth of infrastructure investment for water treatment and drainage.

Nguyen Ngoc Diep, chairman of the Vietnam Water Supply and Sewerage Association, said at a conference on Thursday on climate change response that around 80 wastewater treatment projects, with a capacity of over 2 million m3 a day, are being deployed, citing a report by the World Bank.

However, the collection rate and treatment rate of wastewater are only at 60% and 15%, respectively. There are also no long-term solutions for inundations in urban areas like Hanoi and HCMC, despite how urgent they might be, he added.

"The investment into drainage infrastructure has not been up to par. For 100% of the population to get clean water access, we need to make big investments," Diep said, citing the World Bank report that the investment should be around $9 billion until 2030. Diep said such an amount of money would be a challenge amid limited resources.

Vietnam currently has around 750 water treatment plants, with a total capacity at over 1 million m3 per day. The rate of urban population getting clean water access is at over 92%, while the national average rate is only at 17.5%.

Nguyen Viet Anh, head of the Institute of Environmental Science and Engineering, said the $9 billion investment would only be enough to cover basic needs.

Several international organizations have estimated that Vietnam would need $30 billion to complete its water drainage infrastructure. As such, authorities need to accurately evaluate the value of water to bring forth appropriate policies, and privatization would be needed to mobilize resources for such investments.

Halla Maher Qaddumi, senior water economist at the World Bank, said that amid increasing threats to water resources, Vietnam might lose 6% of its GDP every year until 2035. Water pollution alone may cause a drop of 3.5% of GDP, she added.

To resolve issues at the water sector, the World Bank said attracting investments from the private sector should be done to replace old infrastructures with new ones. To attract investments, the government needs to have strong financial policies and legal frameworks, Halla said.

Source: VnExpress