Project Description

Drinking Water Quality Management in Rural Areas of Lao PDR

Partner: The World Bank    |    Duration: 13 months – Feb 2011-March 2012    |    Location: Lao PDR

About: ICEM formed a team of Lao and international water quality experts to undertake this project to develop and test improved institutional and operational arrangement for safeguarding the quality of water in rural areas of Lao PDR based on the combined experience of Vietnam, Cambodia and Lao PDR.

The project aimed to safeguard the rural drinking water quality in Lao PDR  through improved government and stakeholder institutional operational arrangements and management of drinking water,. The project built capacity with the  government of Lao PDR and stakeholders, to help rural communities gain sustainable access to improved water.

This project was undertaken in three phases:

Phase 1:  Situation analysis: Conducting a situation analysis of current drinking water quality management in rural areas of Lao PDR and identification of lessons from regional experiences;

Phase 2:  Pilot Project: Implementing two pilot projects in Lao PDR to test and refine operational arrangement for safeguarding rural drinking water quality and developing an operation model;

Phase 3:  Document and Disseminate: Documenting and disseminating lessons leaned from pilot projects.

The World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) works with partners at regional, country and international level to help disadvantaged people gain sustained access to improved water and sanitation services. WSP  a multi-donor funded program, through which has developed the Sanitation and Water Partnership for the Mekong Region (SAWAP). The overall program aims to improve water and sanitation services by assisting to build capacity, reform policies, strengthen institutional and develop human resources. For this project the WSP partnered with the Department of Hygiene in the Ministry of Health’s Nam Saat.

Nam Saat is responsible for rural water supply and the promotion of sanitation and hygiene for rural and urban areas in Lao PDR. This project aimed to build on and develop further the framework and operational systems to safeguard the quality of drinking water in rural areas of Lao PDR. Nam Saat has some significant financial, human resource and technical challenges and the project worked closely with this department – to ensure the a successful outcome. Lao PDR, is increasingly focusing on the management, supply and quality of rural drinking water, particularly the technical options concerning water quality. However, prior to this project there had been little attention given to the institutional and operational arrangements to safeguard rural drinking water. In 2008 – 2009 water quality standards in Lao PDR were developed and in 2011 there was a review of the National Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Strategy. This project worked closely with this National Review, assessing the existing arrangements in Lao PDR for water quality management in rural areas. A regional workshop was also held as part of this project, as an important platform for linking up with the National Review, and other governmental and SAWAP activities to share lessons and project findings. The project also piloted improved institutional arrangements through the use of the WHO guidance on Water Safety Plans.