Hundreds of Vietnamese children access safe water
Clean drinking water is now available to hundreds of children in Hoang Tay and Hong Thai kindergartens with installation of UTS filtration system
Clean drinking water is now available to hundreds of kindergarten children in the Hoang Tay and Hong Thai communes of Vietnam following the installation of a filtration system devised within the Faculty of Engineering and IT School for Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Clean drinking water is now available to hundreds of kindergarten children in the Hoang Tay and Hong Thai communes of Vietnam following the installation of a filtration system devised by UTS engineers.
UTS has worked with researchers from Hanoi University of Science (HUS) and from the Institute of Environmental Technology, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (IET – VAST) to survey local conditions and identify ways to meet the immediate needs of local people concerned about the serious public health issues associated with high levels of arsenic in groundwater.
Current systems are neither cost-effective/efficient at removing arsenic, which causes major health problems including cancers, gastrointestinal disorders, muscular weakness, nerve tissue injuries, blackfoot disease and intellectual impairment.
In both commune districts Kim Bang District, Ha Nam Province and in the Phu Xuyen area of the Red River delta, arsenic concentration in groundwater is much higher than the maximum national standard for drinking water. This has led to the cooperative approach to research, design and install a groundwater water filter system for arsenic treatment and safe drinking water supply, using low cost natural materials available locally.
Hoang Tay kindergarten’s modern facilities were built in 2017, and it has 439 children aged from 1.5 to 5 years in semi-boarding accommodation. But a lack of clean water has been a persistent concern for the Commune authorities, school administrators and parents. An initial attempt to provide a clean water supply station failed due to lack of regular maintenance; from May 2017, the school has been using three sources of water simultaneously.
To ensure the health of the children, we use rainwater for cooking, water from a tube-well and from a centralised system for daily activities and for washing dishes.
In dry seasons, the only choice is water from the Commune centralised system and/or from the tube-well. But the water from the centralised system is very chlorinated and money to pay for it has to be collected from parents who are poor. Therefore we – the teachers and parents – are really desperate for a groundwater treatment system that is able to supply a quality source of water for children's drinking and hygiene.
Madame Nguyen Thi Phuc, the kindergarten’s principal
Hong Thai had the Arsenic Contaminated Water Treatment project implemented in April. Currently, water supply for daily living depends on rainwater, which is scarce in dry seasons. Although planning for clean water supply at the Commune has been completed, no implementation schedule has been established, and clean water is not yet possible in the near future.
Local communities are very concerned about the long–term health effects of arsenic-contaminated groundwater and eager to explore technologies and access support that can address immediate needs.
Mr Vu Duc Vinh, Vice Chairman of the Commune
Also at Hong Thai is the pressing need for clean water for the local kindergarten, divided into five sites across the district. Only the central site has a standard groundwater treatment system, with all children’s lunches produced there before delivery to the others. Teachers at the other sites have to buy locally-produced bottled water for drinking, which is not guaranteed safe.
Therefore, the UTS-developed filtration system is well supported by the teachers and Madame Nhan, Vice Headmaster of the Kindergarten, who has followed the research during the survey and installation.
I am looking forward to seeing better quality water used for daily activities at all sites, like washing face towels, cleaning baby utensils, and partly for drinking. Our teachers will be more confident using the purified water and be less dependent on bottled water.
The technology devised by UTS has already won a DFAT-Google Technology Against Poverty Prize in a partnership between the Australian Government’s innovationXchange and Google.org