ASEAN countries are facing big challenges in water supply and wastewater, Nguyen Tuong Van, Executive Director of the Southeast Asian Water Utilities Network (SEAWUN) said at a water forum in Ho Chi Minh City on October 17.

According to Van, the average rate of water supply coverage in Southeast Asian countries is only 30 percent.

About 1.74 billion Asian people have yet to access water drainage services, 69 percent of whom are in Southeast Asia, Van added.

At the event, titled “ASEAN Water Forum - Promoting Sustainable Investment”, the SEAWUN leader further said that the rate of water loss in the region stands high at 35 percent.

Meanwhile, the rate of wastewater being treated before disposal is low, at 38 percent compared to 85 percent in developed countries, Van said.

To cope with these challenges, ASEAN member countries’ governments need to try harder to mobilise all resources for the water sector, not only with official development assistance but with help from individuals and the private economic sector in the form of public-private partnerships (PPPs), according to Van.

At the forum, Lain Menzies, senior expert on water supply and sanitation of the World Bank’s East Asia-Pacific, said that the number of PPP projects in water supply and drainage among ASEAN countries remains limited.

Thus, the countries should diversify the forms of investment in the field.

The forum brought together experts from Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Germany and Finland to share experience.-VNA