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Tangible progress with the water operators throughout Laos

24 April 2024

This March, Arjan Sierveld and Rick Nijman, embarked on a three-week work visit to Lao PDR on the topics of GIS and NRW. The visit started with a kick off in Vientiane with the Department of Water Supply of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport. Here, the newly made GIS manual was officially presented, alongside some new equipment for the water utilities to reduce NRW. Afterwards, Arjan and Rick continued their way separately, addressing the differing stages and needs of each topic in various locations.


Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

The topic of GIS has become a countrywide approach during this visit. Beginning in the North, progressing through the South, and culminating in the Middle region, each province received the GIS manual and participated in intensive 4-day GIS training, resulting in significant advancements in GIS capabilities. A new aspect of this visit was the introduction of Local GIS trainers through the train-the-trainer principle. One participant summarized the impact by stating: "I will be able to adjust it in GIS, because now I have the GIS-Manual,".

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Non Revenue Water (NRW)

Turning to the issue of Non Revenue Water (NRW), the visit began in Luang Namtha, where the step testing method assumed a central role in measuring, analyzing, and pinpointing leakages. Utilizing GIS, DMA’s and subDMA’s were created, and all valves in the area were checked. Nighttime step testing revealed areas with a high potential of leakages. During the visit, four leakages within the network, were found using this method.

We also visited the provinces of Luang Prabang and Oudomxai to initiate discussions on NRW challenges and potential collaborative strategies within the Northern Provinces of Lao PDR. While these meetings served as introductory sessions, they laid the groundwork for future partnerships aimed at addressing NRW issues comprehensively.