Vietnam's Ragalai community to receive safe water

Denis O'Carroll, Australian Research Council Future Fellow and Director of the UNSW Water Research Centre, visited central Vietnam in July 2018 with the Catalyst Foundation as part Drinking water supply in Vietnamof an aid mission.

A/Prof O’Carroll visited the hamlet of Suoi Da, located in the Thuan Bac district in the province of Ninh Thuan, Vietnam. The closest large city to Suoi Da is Phan Rang, which is about an hour and a half from Na Trang.

The primary goal of A/Prof O’Carroll’s trip was to help the Ragalai community access safe drinking water. Currently, their current water supply consists of a piping system from two mountain waterfalls. Unfortunately, this water is untreated and the water source goes dry during the dry season, which typically occurs in August.

The community is unable to improve their drinking water due to having very limited economic resources. One major source of income for the families is the collection of dung in the fields which is then sold to local farmers as fertiliser, and the monthly salary is on the order of 60 cents per week, per family. Currently each family needs between 300 to 500 litres of water every two to three days. The community currently self-rations, as they are unfamiliar with the concept of readily available water.

A/Prof O’Carroll is working with Dr. Fiona Johnson from the UNSW School of Civil and Environmental Engineering to develop a student-led project to help design, construct and install a new water treatment system. The goal is to return to Vietnam within the next year given the pressing need from the community.

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