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Evaluation report

VTN 2000/008: Final Report on Evaluation of Small Piping System and Rain Water Jar as Rural Water Supply Solutions in the Provinces of Lai Chau, Phu Tho, Khanh Hoa and Vinh Long

Author: Luy, D. V.

Executive summary


Since 1997, Viet Nam and UNICEF have developed some new types of water supply such as small piping system (SPS) and rain water jars (RWJ). SPS is a mini piping scheme that takes underground water from a new or existing drilled well through a water treatment unit to a water tower by use of a pump. It can supply water for 40 to 200 households depending on the scale. RWJ are used to catch and store rainwater. They are either 1.3 cubic meters or 2 cubic meters and are made of cement and stone powder based on Thai technology. A 2 cubic meter jar can be used for drinking and cooking by a family of five for one and a half to two months.

Purpose / Objective

This report is an evaluation of the small piping system (SPS) and rain water jars (RWJ) after a trial period to test the application of this technology for wide-scale use. The objectives were to analyze:
- Utilization effectiveness, changes in users' living standard, financial ability and community participation
- Management, maintenance and operation
- Technical aspects -- quality sustainability, quantity of water supply for domestic use, contamination possibility of water source, water fee, users' acceptance, and scope of application


An evaluation team consisting of members from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Construction, University of Construction and Instate for Human and Social Services visited a number of SPS and RWJs in 4 representative provinces of 4 regions: Lai Chau, Phu Tho, Khanh Hoa and Vinh Long. SPS has been built in three of these provinces while all four were using RWJ. However, people used the jars to collect water from other source, not just rain.

Key Findings and Conclusions

SPS and RWJ are suitable solutions to rural water supply. Especially of RWJ, the low cost technique has been successfully applied in many provinces.

Small Piping System
Generally, main structures of SPS are stable even though the age of the systems varied greatly from 2 months to several years. There have been some minor breakdowns that did not greatly affect operations. The water quality is acceptable: water is colorless, odorless and tasteless.

In each SPS, users selected one local person to manage, operate and maintain the system. Some managers said that they cleaned the water treatment station frequently in accordance with Center for Rural Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation (CERWASS) guidance. They also inform CERWASS immediately if there was any breakdown. However, supervising construction quality and checking the water quality through testing samples were not carried out.

In Phu Tho, some villagers doubted the quality of the SPS water, blaming a nearby factory. The factory has tested the water and concluded that it had not been affected. Despite this, water consumption from SPS is quite low in this area. Other areas did not report this concern and were all confident in the quality of the water.

Generally, SPS visited do not operate to full capacity. They operated at one-sixth to one-third capacity. The system was designed for 70-80 l per head, per day, but people use much less.

The cost to the user in the four provinces ranged from 150,000 to 300,000 VND per house. The fund was utilized to dig the trench for the main pipeline and install the connection pipe to the household. Some people said that this contribution is fairly high but they accepted it after calculating the quantity of materials used.

(Rain) Water Jars
About 60% of the jars were storing water when the team visited. Quality of all jars was good. There were no breakages. Most jars are covered temporarily by lids of different materials. Color of water ranged from colorless to yellow or dirty. The quality completely depends on the supply sources, not on the jar itself. Users manage and maintain the jars themselves. The method of jar cleaning depends on the household. There are no guidelines on jar maintenance.

In Lai Chau Province, 560 jars have been built. Technicians of Lai Chau CERWASS have mastered the technology to produce RWJ very well. They have also trained local workers to build them that meet standards of quality and style. Some jars were transported quite far from the construction site, yet no jars have broken or leaked. Users accept the style of the jar but they are fairly high and difficult to clean. In some places, there is no electricity to pump the water up. In villages with electricity, people pump water from dug wells into the jars. In these villages, more water was stored and had a higher quality.

Storing rain water has met with some difficulties. Many of the roofs are thatch, with only a few fero-cement roofs. 50-70% are covered in tile.

Users' contributions for a jar of 2 cubic meters and 1.3 cubic meters is 150,000 and 115,000 VND respectively. The jars were usually built in sparsely populated areas where the population is quite poor. Most could only contribute 100,000 VND per jar.

There were not many IEC activities on clean water supply and environmental sanitation. But people knew the benefits of using clean water from television or the radio.

Water sources have some problems. Many dug wells did not have the correct structure and distance from possible contamination sources. Waste and fertilizer could pollute surface water in Vihn Long province. Latrines were built on the banks of the canal. Saline and fluoride contamination are a concern in Khanh Hoa province. Implementation of the regulations of water source contamination is inconsistent.


In order to ensure sustainability, there should be a master plan and exploitation plan for each water source. Guidelines or regulations of water source exploitation and protection for each region should be set up.

Continue to educate about the negative effects of using dirty water. Better education regarding the contamination of water sources is needed.

Improve the design of water jars. Educate households receiving the jar regarding water source selection and maintenance, method of water collection, and cleaning and maintaining jars. [Actual specifications for a new jar design are provided in the report.]

Some families will need government support to cover the costs of water supply.

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Report information





Water and Environmental Sanitation


Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Center for Rural Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation

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