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• Immediately after the Vietnam War ended in 1975, Vietnam experienced economic turmoil and famine as the roots of industrialization began to grip the nation.

• In 1986, the government declared a rapid transition from a planned to a market economy would take hold. The ensuing change caused further increased industrial development and a subsequent growth of the emerging market economy. 1

• To this day, Vietnam’s GDP is rising yearly at a rapid rate.

• For this reason, much of Vietnam has been developed in a relatively short amount of time (since the end of the war) but much of it has lagged behind, including the infrastructure including water pipes and water sanitation plants. This lag has caused limited access to sanitized water in both rural and urban areas.

• Despite an overall adequate water access for Vietnamese citizens, the sanitation of supplied water has not improved as markedly as the country as a whole.

• Sanitation has increased from 37% in 1990 to 75% in 2011 as defined by the JMP’s sanitation standards. Here, sanitation is defined as the distance between a water supply and human excretion.2

• Although Vietnam’s water has been made safer over the past few decades, it is largely undrinkable.

• A 2009 study done by scientists at the Vietnam Institute of Biotechnology concluded that ammonia levels in Vietnam’s waters range from an average of 6-18 times higher than an acceptable level. 3

Furthermore, arsenic levels range from 2-3 times higher than an acceptable level.

Publication Date



Water Crisis in Vietnam, CWIC-PH, College within a college, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Jefferson College of Population Health


International Public Health | Public Health

Water Crisis in Vietnam