Tag Archives: water

Laos Hit by Worst Drought in Decades

Laos drought dries up rice paddies

Laos is suffering a severe drought amid low rainfall and high temperatures, which is affecting not only the country’s food security but also farmers’ livelihoods.

Store and Conserve Water, Supply Authority Advises

Turbid Water Supply in Vientiane

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.”

Water Route to Sky Lake in Attapeu Remains Unexplored

Attapeu province has yet to conduct a water route survey to the popular NongFa (Sky Lake) after the provincial governor approved a proposal some months ago.

Developing a water route to NongFa is considered to be the most comfortable way for visitors to access the site and also see natural forests and mountains along the river.

An anonymous official from the province told Vientiane Times on Wednesday that so far no work has been carried out to develop this water route.

However, we’ve heard that the local company that proposed the project is trying to find another company as a partner to help with the survey and development of the route to the lake, he said.

According to the provincial Information, Culture and Tourism Department, foreigners always ask to go Sky Lake when visiting the province.

The proposed route is about 50 kilometres long and it would take a boat about one hour to travel from Sammakhixay district to the lake.

Alternatively, the road route to the lake is about 170km long, but one section of about 70km is difficult to negotiate in the wet season.

The lake is located high on a hilltop and has very clear water that reflects the blue sky and resembles the sea in colour. It is believed the lake formed after a meteor crashed at the site hundreds of years ago.

The region is home to the Brao ethnic group, one of 11 distinct groups in Attapeu province. They typically build their houses on hilltops and wear elaborate bracelets on their arms and legs. They also cut their teeth, pierce their ears, and use animal tusks as earrings.

Attapeu province was chosen as Laos’ representative in The Cities of Charm’ pavilion at the China-Asean Exposition held in China in September.

The popular southern tourist attraction was featured during the event in a bid to promote tourism and city-to-city exchanges.


Source: Vientiane Times

Dirty Water Supply Draws Public Complaints

Householders in some areas of Vientiane have expressed concerns about red colored water when they turn on their taps, prompting questions about the quality of the capital’s supply. However, an anonymous official from the Vientiane Water Supply Company (Nampapa Nakhoneluang) told Vientiane Times on Friday that householders shouldn’t be too concerned about unclear water as workers are repairing broken pipes in the area.

“When water pipes are being fixed after a break some sediment will flow down the pipes. That’s why the water has been dirty when some taps are turned on,” he said. He advised affected residents to leave their taps on for a few minutes to allow the water to run clear again. The official said that if the dirty water was due to faulty treatment plants, all areas in Vientiane would have been affected.

The Vientiane Water Supply Company has four water treatment plants with a combined daily production capacity of 180,000 cubic metres, but this increased to 280,000 cubic metres when a plant in Dongmakkhay, Xaythany district, came on line recently. An additional 300,000 cubic metres of water will be available when another water treatment plant becomes operational in Hadxaifong district in the near future.

The Ministry of Public Works and Transport has set an ambitious target to provide most of the country’s households with clean drinking water. The provision of water supplies will spur development and improve the lot of many ethnic groups, with the plan set to be rolled out through the newly created Water Department.

Minister of Public Works and Transport Dr Bounchanh Sinthavong previously said that clean water and water supply systems were a major part of efforts to eliminate poverty in the country. The 10th Party Congress resolved to ensure that 80 percent of households have access to clean water by  020. The plan called for at least 85 percent of households to have access to water in 2015, and more than 95 percent by 2030.

Source: Vientiane Times

Prime Minister Sisoulith Halts Vientiane Water Price Increase

After a vocal public backlash against the planned fee increase of water announced by the Vientiane Water Supply Company, the Prime Minister’s Office has issued an order to stop the price increase that had been set for the beginning of 2017.

PM Takes Concerns of People Seriously

The PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) has taken the concerns of the people into serious consideration and has requested that the price hike be temporarily halted until a time deemed more appropriate. The order was issued to the Vientiane Administration Office, which subsequently relayed the directive to the Water Supply Company of Vientiane.

Money Needed for Supply Infrastructure

While many local residents are praising the fee suspension, a number of experts are of the opinion that the increase may perhaps be justified to reinvest in supply infrastructure.

Urban Water, Environment Need Improvement

The (Project for Urban Water Environment Improvement) has raised the awareness of the capital’s residents since the release of its master plan to promote better water and drainage solutions.

However, despite Vientiane having improved its drainage network, the water quality in the drainage canals and marshes is still getting worse if compared with other ASEAN neighbouring cities.

The matter was discussed by senior officials from line ministries involved and a JICA expert team at the joint coordinating committee meeting on the Project for Urban Water Environment Improvement, held on Friday in Vientiane. The meeting was attended by Vientiane Deputy Mayor, Mr Keophilavanh Aphaylath, representatives from JICA and other invited guests.

The urban water situation remains bad because of the increasing discharge of domestic wastewater from residential areas as a result of improved lifestyles, as well as rapid economic and population growth, according to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.

The project has developed facilitators and resource persons for environmental education and implemented campaigns for load reduction from wastewater and regular cleaning activities of canals by communities and the Vientiane Urban Development Administration Authority.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr Keophilavanh stressed that the drainage channel system is being developed to help the natural function of the marsh; however the system will work better if waste water can be managed more efficiently to ease the load on the marsh.

“If it is better managed the marsh could become a great energy and water resource for Vientiane,” he said.

Most of the floodwater and grey water waste originating from households flows into the canals and marshes, which actslike a natural filter before the water eventually makes its way into the Mekong River.

However, it seems the marsh can no longer contain the amount of chemicals and industrial pollutants that are now draining into it.

“With the development of Vientiane, many roads, factories and houses have been built nearby, which are putting more strain onthemarsh,”hesaid.

Another problem is that of illegal dumping, with many residents living near canals and marshes dumping plastic and household garbage around the shores of the lake, instead of disposing of it in a more responsible way. The Urban Water Environment Improvement Project aims to strengthen the institutional framework and organisation for wastewater treatment in Vientiane capital through a participatory approach.

In Laos, less attention has been paid to the sanitation sector than others. Therefore, this project can be treated as a milestone, both for the urban sanitation sector in the country and for raising issues on urban sanitation. The National Strategy on Environment up to the year 2020 of the Lao PDR stipulates to implement measures for sustainable development as one of its main objectives, where water environment management is included.


Source: Vientiane Times

Water Supplies and Sanitation Aiming for Sustainability

The specific goal of the Lao water supply and sanitation sector is focusing on safety, stability and sustainability to improve people’s living condition and contribute to socio-economic development.

That was the message conveyed when water supply and sanitation sector officials of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, representatives from water supply enterprises and donors met in Vientiane from December 14-15 to consult on strategy and management of the sector.

At the meeting, participants discussed and shared experiences on different topics, especially opportunities and challenges, vision, management, planning, investment, safety and service. Water supply and sanitation is a priority sector for the government in achieving the Sustainability Development Goals, Deputy Minister of Public Works and Transport, Dr Santisouk Simmalavong told the meeting.

One priority is guaranteeing sufficient water supply and access along with decent sanitation for local people.

Everyone around the world understood the importance of good water supply and safe sanitation, which are basic and major factors in improving people’s living conditions and developing human resources of the country, he commented.

Water supply is also a major factor in promoting agricultural production as well as industrial, service and tourism development, Dr Santisouk said.

However, with increased demand for water supplies, the sector needed to expand services and develop the distribution network in the city and to cover 80 percent of the community by 2020 and reach 90 percent by 2030, Dr Santisouk stressed.

To reach the target, he asked the relevant government sectors and private sector to provide effective management and competent service.

He believed the sector would continue to enhance its cooperation and work together to develop water supply networks to be able to provide service to all locations.

While large numbers of people in towns can access water supplies, many people in rural communities are still in need.


Source: Vientiane Times

Vientiane to Increase Water Charges by Four Percent

Vientiane Water Supply Enterprise (Nampapa Nakhon Luang) has announced it will increase water supply charges by four percent across all categories coming into effect this January.

The enterprise issued an announcement recently that requires households to pay in line with four rates – the more water is consumed the higher the rate households are required to pay.

Under the new rate, those households using not more than 10 cubic metres of water per month will have to pay 1,434 kip per cubic metre, an increase from the current 1,379 kip per cubic metre. Households consuming 11-30 cubic metres per month are required to pay 1,989 kip per cubic metre, an increase from 1,910 kip per cubic metre.

The consumption of between 31-50 cubic metres of water a month will require the payment of 2,538 kip per cubic metre, while those households using 51 cubic metres or more per month will pay 3,089 kip per cubic metre.

State organisations, foreign embassies and international organisations in Laos are required to pay only one rate regardless of the amount used. They are required to pay 2,538 kip per cubic metre, an increase from the current 2,440 kip.

Commercial use by businesses, such as hotels and restaurants, is also under one rate, which is the highest among all categories at 3,089 kip per cubic metre.

A technical official of Vientiane Water Supply Enterprise told Vientiane Times yesterday the increase in water charges was not implemented every year. She added that for many years before 2016 the fee had not been adjusted .

An official of the Water Supply Department under the Ministry of Public Works and Transport said adjustments to water supply fees in different provinces would be considered and approved on a case-by-case basis following proposals from water supply enterprises in a province via the provincial authorities.

He explained the enterprise was required to submit a proposal to provincial authorities to consider before forwarding the proposal to his department to make recommendations if the proposed increase was appropriate and reasonable.

“If the proposed increase is too high, we will recommend lowering it [the proposed increase fee] to avoid adverse impacts on people’s living conditions,” the official said.

He added that the water supply is on the list of 48 controlled products whose fee adjustments needed to be approved by the relevant state sector before it could be increased to avoid a severe impact on people’s cost of living.

While water charges are on the increase, Electricite Du Lao (EDL), recently lowered its power fees for households.


Source: Vientiane Times