The Lao government has set a water connection rate goal for Vientiane of 90 percent by 2020 while the current rate remains at around 80 percent and the existing water treatment plants already operate at overload capacity.
The water distribution network is also inadequate, resulting in constant water cutoffs. The inability to provide a stable supply of safe drinking water has led to concerns of adverse impacts on the health of residents.
Given these circumstances, the Lao government requested financial cooperation to solve this major problem of a water shortage expected to begin in 2020.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a loan agreement with the Lao government on Wednesday in Vientiane, to provide up to more than 739 billion kip (10.271 billion Japanese yen) for the Vientiane Water Supply Expansion project.
The loan agreement signing was inked between Deputy Minister of Finance Ms Thipphakone Chanthavongsa and Chief Representative of the JICA Lao office, Mr Yusuke Murakami.
In order to improve the water supply services in Vientiane, where the demand for water is growing, this project will expand the Chinaimo water treatment plant and update the facilities for water distribution in the central area of the capital.
The funding for this project will be allocated to public works, equipment procurement and expenses for consulting services.
This project will expand the treatment capacity of the Chinaimo water treatment plant in Vientiane, from the current 80,000 cubic metres per day to 120,000 cubic metres.
The project is currently in the study and design stage with construction expected to start in 2018 and completion slated for 2021. It will allow access to sufficient water supplies for households in Vientiane's districts.
The Project Management Division of the Vientiane Water Supply State Enterprises (Nampapa Nakhoneluang), Mr Sisamone Kongmany, said the project would significantly expand water purification capacity.
At present, various purification plants are operated by the Vientiane Water Supply State Enterprises producing 180,000 cubic metres a day, which is far short of the current total demand for 320,000 cubic metres a day.
The project would also install water supply pipelines to the upgraded plant from the Mekong River, he said.
“There is sufficient water for residential and commercial consumption in Vientiane, but some households in the suburbs don't have enough, with water sometimes only flowing to houses at night after many have stopped using it,” Mr Sisamone said.
According to Vientiane Water Supply State Enterprises, the Japanese government will be continuing to provide additional loans if this project is successful. It target is to expand water capacity by 40,000 cubic metres per day in 2024.