The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of smart solutions in the utilities sector. In the city of Hue in Viet Nam, digital technology helped the city to deliver safe and continuous water supply, and respond swiftly to customer concerns.

The provision of safe water and sanitation is vital in maintaining proper hygiene, helping to prevent disease tranmission during a pandemic. With assistance from ADB, HueWACO (Hue’s water utility company) has been upgrading and expanding the provincial water supply system to ensure water security and safe water supply for over 95% of the province's population by 2020. Through the ASEAN Australia Smart Cities Trust Fund, ADB and the Australian Government are able to support cities throughout Southeast Asia  in improving their service delivery, planning and financing using digital and smart technologies.

Learn more about AASCTF and follow the discussions and project update on the AASCTF social media platforms.

Image attribution: ADB Photo Library, Wirestock Images/, Filipe Lopes/, hecke61/, NamLong Nguyen/, CravenA/, OlegD/, Igor Drondin/, Vietnam Stock Images/, Igor Kononykhin/, Saigoneer/


Narrator: The Vietnamese Government is supporting the fight against COVID-19 in multiple ways. During the COVID-19 pandemic, across Viet Nam, the water utility companies ensured safe access to clean water and sanitation, as well as sustained control of water quality.

Truong Cong Nam, HueWACO: HueWACO understands the importance and essential of clean water supply to people’s health, especially during the pandemic. We have maintained safe, continuous and adequate water supply with perfect pressure and service quality. We swiftly respond to incidents that occur. The company has produced four automatic disinfection chambers. We also used an antiseptic formula to make 5,000 liters of hand sanitizers and provided bottles of drinking water for free to the isolation centers to serve more than 10,000 people.

Narrator: The COVID-19 pandemic put pressure on the need of speeding up the use of smart digital solutions in the water companies. In Hue, the water company used posters with simple messages to encourage people to use mobile payment for water services.

Truong Cong Nam, HueWACO: We always encourage E-commerce. Since 2015, HueWACO has advanced and implemented electronic billing; however it has been accustomed gradually by customers and only reached 22% in 2019. Due to the pandemic, customers have recognized the risk of disease and infection through direct interactions. Taking the chance of turning risks into opportunities, HueWACO has increased the E-payment to 38%. We truly appreciate ADB’s TA Grant for planning a provincial water supply system since 2008 regardless of urban or rural areas.

Alan Baird, ADB: The Hue water utility company has been working on safer water supply and better access to sanitation for the public for decades. With the assistance of an ADB loan, Hue WACO has been upgrading and expanding the provincial water supply system to ensure water security and safe water supply for over 95% of the province's population by 2020. The use of digital technology in Hue fits well with our approach to support our client cities to enhance their planning, service delivery and financial management. We are fortunate to have partnered with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to establish the ASEAN Australia Smart Cities Trust Fund. The Trust Fund supports activities aligned with ADB Strategy 2030 and its focus on Liveable cities and the

ASEAN Sustainable Urbanization Strategy. Through the Trust Fund we will continue to support smart city development in cities such as Hue across the Asia-Pacific region.