The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Directors has approved a 1 billion USD financial support facility so Vietnam can give 3 million families access to clean water.

The assistance is part of a nearly 2.8 billion USD investment programme involving the ADB, the Vietnamese Government, development partners and water companies, according to a press release on February 22.

The programme will help water companies improve and expand clean water supplies in some of Vietnam 's largest cities by installing new pipes and repairing and extending existing networks. Half a million poor households will receive piped water into their homes for the first time.

In addition to improving the infrastructure, the programme will enhance the operational management and commercial viability of water companies.

One goal for the water investment programme is to reduce the loss of water in urban areas to less than 20 percent by 2020, bringing Vietnamese cities in line with modern Asian cities such as Seoul .

ADB is providing 138 million USD for the programme's first project in Ho Chi Minh City , where many poor households are not yet connected to clean water networks and are paying almost twice the official water tariff.

The project in Ho Chi Minh City, which will be carried out by the Saigon Water Corporation and will raise the water pressure and extend coverage to over half a million of the city’s residents, as well as connect almost 20,000 families to clean water for the first time.

The project is expected to increase the public access to water in the city to over 64 million cubic metres per annum over the next decade.

ADB said in its press release that the nationwide water investment programme is the cornerstone of Vietnam's efforts to supply 90 percent of the city’s residents with clean piped water by 2020, with a total coverage scheduled for 2025./.