Residents of several apartment buildings in Ho Chi Minh City, both in the luxury and mid-priced range, have been using water brought by barges on the Saigon River for the last two years.
The Saigon Water Corporation (Sawaco) has paid a transport unit to bring water from its water plants in Nha Be and Thu Duc Districts to the Saigon Pearl building complex on Nguyen Huu Canh Street, which comprises 116 villas and three luxury apartment buildings.
The water flow to area is so weak that its residents cannot rely on the pipeline supply.
In 2009, Saigon Pearl investor SSG Corporation asked Sawaco and Gia Dinh Water Supply JSC in Binh Thanh District to set up plans to send barges carrying water to the residents after they complained about the constant water shortage.
The Gia Dinh JSC in 2006 had guaranteed SSG that pipes 25 centimeters in diameter can meet the whole area's water demand of 2,700 cubic meters a day.
But when families moved into the villas in 2009 and began using about 450 cubic meters a day, many of them had to wait until midnight and still get no water.
Meanwhile, the Ruby, Topaz and Sapphire apartment buildings in the complex each has a 325 cubic meter tank to store water brought by the barges and serve more than 900 families.
More than 450 families at the mid-priced Cuu Long apartment building opposite Saigon Pearl are also facing the same water shortage.
Every two days, a barge containing 800 to 1,200 cubic meters of water arrives at the building.
A source from Sawaco said rapid urbanization on Nguyen Huu Canh Street has resulted in the water shortage.
The water pressure at the above-mentioned apartment buildings is almost zero, the source said.
Sawaco has said it plans to install a 40-centimeter diameter pipeline to bring water from its Thu Duc water plant to the buildings.
As of May, the company had finished selecting contractors and buying materials, while the city Transport Department is considering locations for laying the water pipeline.
The project is expected to cost more than VND3.8 billion (US$184,556).
Sawaco and SSG has spent around VND9 billion since 2009 on paying the barges to bring the water.