International Development Planning Review

Innovative systems to create peri-urban infrastructure: Assessment of a local partnership set up to provide water to the poor in Vietnam

International Development Planning Review (2007), 29, (1), 1–22.

Abstract

This article assesses a new, innovative infrastructure for the provision of piped domestic water to households in a peri-urban region of the Mekong Delta. After briefly reviewing a new system of water service based on investment by local entrepreneurs, it evaluates how well access to this new resource is distributed. Using an original household survey, the article assesses the extent of the new system, and the geodemographic characteristics of users. Findings suggest that: the proportion of those eligible connecting to the system is significant, but low compared to other primary ways of securing household water; the system does not yet reach the urban poor, the non-migrant wealthy, or those further from its hubs; and future research should develop multivariate models to further explore various issues. These issues include: how migrant users differ from others; the role that placing the cost burden of laying pipe on users plays in creating collective action problems; and the role that education plays in creating incentives for residents to connect to the new system. The first two findings suggest that planners and policy makers should consider efforts to clarify water property regimes and residence mobility programmes that incentivise connections to the new system.

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Spencer, James