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Akvotek contributing to SDG 6 in rural Vietnamese village

Australian water science organisation Akvotek has brought clean drinking water to a rural village in Vietnam using a dual membrane treatment process.

Nantra™ is a chemical-free water treatment process that generates clean water by leaving contaminates where they are, in a river, lake or dam.

In the rural southern Vietnamese town of Ben Tre, the raw water used in the treatment process is drawn from a canal in the Mekong River system and pumped directly to the plant.

There is only one small feed pump on the system, which makes it very energy efficient.

The water flows through a screen in the pump which catches large objects like fish and grass, and then goes through control valves into ultrafiltration membranes. These membranes remove all of the turbidity and solids from the water.

The water comes out of the ultrafiltration process into a second Nantra membrane, which removes a high level of dissolved organics, colour and other contaminants in the water.

To maintain disinfection through the distribution system, a dose of sodium hypochlorite is added for residual disinfection.

Speaking about the membranes at the recent opening of the plant in Ben Tre, Akvotek CEO Mark Forbes said it is a world-first process.

“It's the only membrane in the world that will deal with high solids water in a direct and untreated matter,” he said.

“[The treated water is] perfectly healthy and safe to drink.

“We designed this system specifically for river systems like the Mekong and it will perform very well right through the monsoonal season.”

Julianne Cowley, Australian Consul-General in Ho Chi Minh City attended the opening of the treatment plant in early November and congratulated all those involved in the project.

“This is an exciting day because water is something that is so important. The Australian Government is very proud of Mark and his team and the technology that we bring here today,” she said.

The Australian Water Association’s (AWA) international program plays an important role in facilitating and supporting connections between the Australian water sector and its international counterparts, including the exposure of Australian expertise, technology and innovation.

Last year, as part of AWA’s DFAT-funded aid program in Dong Thap, Akvotek was able to showcase its technology and develop the private sector partnerships that enabled the Ben Tre project.

“You’ve got to be able to set up local manufacturing and have some degree of local representation, and we were able to form that through the involvement with the AWA,” Forbes said.

With a large Vietnamese population in Melbourne, Director of Liveability Victoria International Suzanne Knight said the relationship with Vietnam is very important to the Victorian Government.

“We are very committed to contributing to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals and one of those goals is providing clean water and sanitation for all people,” she said.

“We want to see projects like this providing clean water for the Vietnamese people.”

The new water treatment plant will serve 400 homes and 2000 people with safe drinking water for years to come.

To find out more about how the AWA facilitates the introduction of Australian technology overseas, visit the international page.