By Khonesavanh Latsaphao
June 1, 2012
The Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Project for the Northern and Central Regions on Wednesday officially handed over a new water treatment plant worth more than US$2.2 million to Oudomxay province.
Under the project, which was funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), construction of the water treatment plant and piping network in Houn district began on August 11, 2007, with work finishing almost three years ago on July 31, 2009.
“We were only able to officially open the plant on Wednesday because some government officials and project staff have been busy with the construction of water treatment plants in many parts of the country over the past three years,” provincial Water Supply Director Mr Cheutour Kayingmoi told Vientiane Times.
The Houn district plant has been piping water to people in 10 target villages since it became operational in July 2009, he pointed out.
The plant can supply 2,160 cubic metres of water per day. People can use as much as they want, because it is flowing 24 hours a day, and users are only charged 3,400 kip per cubic metre.
Now only 3 of the 13 villages in Houn district do not have direct access to water, because these villages are not included in the project area.
The houses in these villages are located far from the district centre.
The provincial Water Supply plans to expand water connections to the remaining villages so that everyone in the 13 villages will have water on tap in 2015.
The Head of the Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Project for the Northern and Central Regions, Mr Phomma Vaeravanh, said that before the treatment plant was built in Houn district, people bought water from trucks that travelled to the area from the provincial capital.
It cost 300,000 kip to buy a month’s supply, which was very expensive.
But now that they can get piped water, their bills are only about 30,000 kip per month, Mr Phomma said.
The government’s target is for 80 percent of households in the country to have access to water by 2020.
“We think it will be possible to achieve our target because ADB is now funding the installation of water treatment plants across the country,” he added.
The ADB has provided financial assistance to the northern region to help spur economic development, and to help relieve the high incidence of poverty.
The bank’s aim is to improve the accessibility, quality, reliability, and sustainability of water provision in northern Laos.
The ADB has also funded access roads and footpaths, and improved drainage and sanitation in residential areas of Oudomxay province.