The rain-swollen Mekong River and its sediments are affecting capacity to meet the daily demand for water in the Lao capital Vientiane and its surrounds, the water supply authority warns.
The State Water Supply Enterprise has called on Vientiane residents to conserve water and consider storing additional supplies for later use.
Vientiane’s water supplies are expected to be affected by the high levels of turbidity in the Mekong which exceed the production standards of water production plants, a public notice from the State Water Supply Enterprise dated Tuesday, September 6 informed.
“The Vientiane capital water supply state enterprise would like to inform employees, soldiers, police, citizens and businesspeople in Vientiane Capital that: the provision of water supply will be irregular because of high levels of turbidity, which may affect production and provision of the city’s water supply in some areas, with irregular or insufficient supply until the end of the rainy season.” the notice read.
“Therefore, citizens are urged to store water for household use until regular production can resume.”
“Therefore, this notice is to inform you and apologize for any inconvenience in the facilitation of water supply during this time.”
The warning comes as Luang Prabang continues to face challenges arising from a swollen Nam Khan River which rose to temporarily flood water supply production facilities at Phanom and at Phou Luang in Luang Prabang city last week.
“Regarding the water production facilities at Phou Pheung and Phou Xang Kham, these are still in regular service, but water supply within Luang Prabang City may face shortages in certain areas due to demand,“ a notice from the provincial Department of Public Works and Transport’s Water Supply State Enterprise (WSSE) on August 31 read.
Development of domestic capacities in the field of water supply for Laos’ Ministry and provincial departments of Public Works and Transport and WSSEs has long benefited from cooperation and expertise from Japan provided via the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
According to a JICA factsheet entitled “Safe and Sustainable Water Supply: From the water source to the tap”, the relatively turbid nature of rivers in the region provides additional challenges, and particularly as a result of extreme events.
“Many rivers in Asia are more turbid than Japanese rivers and necessitate different treatment and operation methods,” it reads.
“Reviewing the technology nurtured in Japan and developing it according to the overseas needs is an opportunity to improve the current technology.”