Vietnam Clean Water Dwindling Due to Lack of Treatment Infrastructure

Experts call for reuse of wastewater to protect vital resources

Vietnam water reserves running low

Over the past two decades, Vietnam has seen their water reserves suffer drastic reductions. Due to this, average water consumption levels per person in 2025 are expected to be one fourth of what they were in 1990.

Part of the issue has arisen from a substantially increased population, which has led to a greater magnitude of wastewater being produced without the infrastructure to properly repurpose it. According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, there are more than 200 industrial zones throughout Vietnam, while few of those have sustainable wastewater treatment solutions.

Roughly 75% of wastewater produced daily is left untreated and promptly discharged into the country’s environment. However, because of cultural assumptions of water abundance in the region, investors have been wary to put their money into expensive treatment projects and the government has generated little to no policy regarding water treatment.

Other environmental factors have come into play to further damage the current state of water in the country, such as climate change raising water levels, leading to higher instances of floods and salt water intrusion along the coasts.

“Millions of hectares of coastal land are inundated, hundreds of hectares of mangrove forests are already lost,” said Nguyen Thu Phuong, representative for the Water Resources Management Department. “And the wetland ecosystem is affected strongly.”

Aside from obvious needs in terms of the building of treatment technology, many are also calling for a realignment of the legal framework through which individuals may be prosecuted for a variety of crimes regarding the misuse of water.

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