Tap water leaked from a broken pipe in Ho Chi Minh City (Photo: thanhniennews.com)

HCM City (VNA) – The tap water leakage rate in HCM City has reduced to 27.8 percent, down 2.6 percentage points from the end of last year, according to the State-owned Saigon Water Supply Corporation (Sawaco).

At this rate, the city loses around 556,000 cu.m of water, or 3 billion VND (136,000 USD), daily.

Speaking at a forum on September 7, Deputy General Director of Sawaco, Bui Thanh Giang, said the rate of leakage reduced by 2 percentage points a year in 2011-15.

A lack of resources is preventing efforts to reduce the leakage rate since there are many old and dilapidated pipes, he said.

An official from the Ben Thanh Water Supply Company said the water supply network in the city centre, including Districts 1 and 3, was built 60-80 years ago but replacing dilapidated pipes is not easy because of the funds shortage and the fact some streets cannot be dug up for the task.

The company however plans to replace some 150km of old and dilapidated pipes by 2020, the official said.

Tran Thi Cam Van, Deputy Director of the Tan Hoa Water Supply Joint Stock Company, said in the first six months of the year there were 2,733 cases of leaks in her company’s supply area.

Most were caused by breakages in pipes, she said.

Theft of water also caused huge losses, she said.

The company discovered five cases in which more than 12,000 cu.m were stolen this year, she said.

By moving nearly 20,000 water meters from inside consumers’ houses to outside and upgrading water pipes, Tan Hoa has managed to reduce the leakage rate from 35 percent at the beginning of this year to 29.4 percent now, she added.

Giang, Deputy General Director of Sawaco, said to reduce the leakage rate to 25 percent by 2020 water meters would be moved out of houses.

The company would also actively monitor breakages in pipes to fix them in time and increase the use of information technology to manage and reduce the leakage rate, he said.

Nguyen Van Tam, Deputy Director of the city Department of Transport, said the city’s foundation is weak and sinking, which frequently causes pipelines to break.

He urged Sawaco to prioritise investment in areas with high rates of water leakage caused by old and dilapidated pipes.

When the water supply network covers the entire city, households would be stopped from using bore wells, he said.

The city targets supplying tap water to all households by the end of this year.

In Cu Chi District, only around 54 percent of the 31,283 households that have water meters installed use tap water, according to the Saigon Water Infrastructure Company.

In other districts like Binh Tan and Hoc Mon too, many households prefer using water from bore wells rather than taps.-VNA