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Australian regional water sector strengthens ties with Vietnamese partners in 50th year of cooperation.

The Australian Water Association, in partnership with the Vietnam Water Supply and Sewerage Association (VWSA) and the National Center for Rural Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation (NCERWASS), has enabled the extension of utility twinning partnerships side-lined in 2020 due to the impacts of COVID-19.

The Partnerships for Improved Water Safety and Water Supply Resilience program builds on previously successful international utility partnerships facilitated by the Australian Water Association. The Program and supports two-way knowledge sharing and capacity building at an international level.  

Funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Water Partnership (AWP), the renewed partnerships between An Giang PCERWASS and Riverina Water, and Phu Tho Water Supply Company and Coliban Water, are moving from strength to strength.  

An Giang PCERWASS Director, Mr Tran Ngoc Liem, shared the following about the collaboration:  

“We have received a lot of benefits from this partnership since the beginning of this program back in 2019 when we were luckily selected to be a participant and partnered with Riverina Water. Although we had to pivot knowledge sharing activities to online platforms throughout COVID-19 period due to international travel restrictions, we were able to support each other to achieve our goals at the end of the program. An Giang PCERWASS has significantly reduced our non-revenue water rate (water loss) from 40% to 30% with strategies recommended by Riverina Water. We are now scaling up the shared strategies to other areas managed by our utility.” 

Through the Program the partners have codesigned impact-focused action plans to effect change on key water sector challenges. To support learning, partners have joined in-bound and out-bound international study tours, and shared lessons learned within their networks and sectors. Earlier this month, AWA supported a team from An Giang and members from NCERWASS, to visit Riverina Water in Wagga Wagga. NCERWASS Acting Director Mr Nguyen Thanh Luan shared this about the value of the Program:  

“This Program has brought tremendous benefits for Vietnamese participants to learn from their Australian partners and to improve their capacity in delivering improved water service to Vietnam rural communities. This program also offers a great opportunity for NCERWASS, a national agency managing water supply and environmental sanitation services in Vietnam rural areas, to better understand how our Australian water sectors are operating via knowledge and experience shared by Australian participants. This helps NCERWASS to better support our provincial rural water utilities in Vietnam and enable them to better serve rural communities... we plan to share the knowledge and lessons learnt with the wider PCERWASS communities in Vietnam.” 

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Riverina Water CEO Andrew discusses water supply systems and service areas with the Vietnamese delegation.

In the 50th year of cooperation between Australia and Vietnam, the Program provides a unique opportunity for regional members of the Australian Water Association and our international association partners to address common water sector challenges and advance the achievements of the SDGs in our region, including SDG6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), SDG13 (Climate Action), and SDG5 (Gender Equality), embedding climate resilience, and inclusive practices, within the action plans. 

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Riverina Water introduced its asset management system to the Vietnamese partners. 

Riverina Water CEO Andrew Crakanthorp shared the following after the An Giang PCERWASS visit,

“We’re proud to be a part of this Program and it is fantastic to see representatives from An Giang able to see our operations first-hand after the program was on hold during COVID-19. Our Vietnamese counterparts greatly enjoyed their time here in Wagga and found the visit invaluable.” 

By developing long-term relationships that foster the sharing of knowledge, resources, and commitment, together the partners are strengthening capacity to combat the worst effects of a changing climate on the water sectors of the Asia-Pacific.  

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The Vietnamese delegation at the water quality laboratory at Wagga Wagga Water Treatment Plant.