Promoting Water Circulation in Small-Scale Enterprises in Vietnam

Workshop in the Vieba Garment Ltd., Vietnam

Promoting Water Circulation in Small-Scale Enterprises in Vietnam

Vieba Garment Company, located in the My Hao district of Hung Yen province in Vietnam, is a private enterprise that imports raw wool and produces woolen textiles employing approximately 200 people. The enterprise has premises covering a total area of 33,480 m2, of which 8% is green tree area, the other 34% is covered by internal roads, and the rest are workshops, storages, and buffer plots. The project “Decentralized Water Resource Circulation as a Sustainable Solution for Plantation” worked with the enterprise to introduce a water recycling model for the treatment and reuse of wastewater in January 2023. The water recycling model used by the enterprise has produced several benefits and has been a success story. This blog post will share the success story with similar enterprises that may want to replicate the model and other stakeholders in Vietnam as the country prepares for programs and policies around Circular Economy and its application in water resources.

Water use and water recycling system of Vieba Garment Company

The daily domestic water supply of the company is about 10 – 20 m3. In addition, the company needs approximately 10 m3 per day to irrigate its 2,000 m2 of green zones. The company generates wastewater that primarily originates from the kitchen and toilets. A pilot wastewater recycling system was designed, manufactured, and installed in January 2023 for the treatment and reuse of wastewater generated by the company (Figure 1).

Figure 1
Figure 1: Wastewater treatment and reuse system installed at the Vieba Garment Company

The wastewater after treatment is stored in the post-treatment and disinfection tank before watering the green zones, nursery, and garden for ornamental plants. The inorganic sludge residue can also be collected monthly for fertilizing. The effluence from the septic tank goes to the collection system, consisting of pipelines and collection pits, and is discharged to the ditches outside the company. This wastewater recycling system effectively replaced approximately 60% of the freshwater used for gardening while minimizing water exploitation costs.

Benefits realized from the water recycling system

The company achieved remarkable success with realized benefits on multiple fronts.

  • New business opportunities: With access to recycled water for irrigation, the company started a nursery and garden for ornamental plants.
  • Reduced wastewater and water costs: The waste load on the environment was reduced, which helped mitigate water pollution and preserve local water resources and ecosystems. This not only helped the company to reduce its environmental footprint significantly but reduced its water exploitation costs and reduced its wastewater discharge fee. The company can reuse 15-18 m3 of wastewater to water plants. Therefore, the system reduces the consumption of clean water for businesses, with the average unit price of clean water at 11,625 VND/m3, which can help the company to save 174,375 – 209,250 VND/day. Reusing water after treatment helps reduce emissions into the receiving water body. Therefore, the environmental protection fee for wastewater will be reduced by 4,000,000 VND/year for the scale from 10 to less than 20 m3/day.
  • Opportunity for women, the elderly, and workers impacted by COVID-19: Elderly female workers, who often face challenges in the job market, could continue working in some of the operations of the water recycling plant and the maintenance of the gardens. In addition, these new opportunities were also helpful for re-engaging some workers laid off due to COVID-19.

Ms. Vu Thi My, an employee of Vieba Garment Company.

Success: Employee’s Perspective

“I have been working with the company for the past 10 years. Previously, the company used clean water for irrigation but has now transitioned to a wastewater circulation model, utilizing treated wastewater for irrigation purposes. I see both the company and its workers have benefitted from this transition. The company has a lower cost for water now and has opened new businesses that support the workers’ livelihoods, including opportunities for women that are not labor-intensive.”

The water recycling and wastewater reuse at the Vieba Garment Company is a successful example of the adoption of sustainable practices that aligns with the application of Circular Economy (CE) approaches to water resources. This successful case study should provide an example for promoting the circular economy of water (CEW) and provide some insight to policymakers and legislators as the country moves forward with the amendment of the Law of Water Resources in 2023 and replicate the success in other businesses and industries in the country conserve water resources and contribute to a more sustainable future.

For more information about the Vieba Garment Company, please contact:
Thanh Trong Tran /President and CEO

For more information about the “Decentralized Water Resource Circulation as a Sustainable Solution for Plantation” project, please contact:
Assoc. Prof. Thu-Huong T. Hoang, Principal Investigator,
Hanoi University of Science and Technology

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