International Development Planning Review

Social differentiation and access to clean water: a case study from Bac Ninh, Vietnam

International Development Planning Review (2020), 42, (3), 357–379.

Abstract

Bac Ninh, a province adjacent to the Hanoi Capital Region of Vietnam, has long been renowned for its centuries-old craft villages. Today, Bac Ninh is becoming renowned for the toxic environments produced by its contemporary craft industries, such as the recycling of scrap metals and electronic waste. In this context, this paper considers how residents of a commune in peri-urban Hanoi perceive the cleanliness of their water, and how, accordingly, the social differentiation which has emerged since doi moi (‘economic renovation’) shapes their practices in procuring water they deem fit for household use. Analysis reveals a complicated picture of the ways in which households access water for everyday domestic use. In spite of the rollout of piped water infrastructure, we find residents relying on a mix of water sources, with private sources clearly preferred but access to those restricted by wealth. The results of these considerations offer glimpses both of the unintended consequences of doi moi and of how future events, including a diminishing supply of water and potential climate change impacts may affect residents of the expanding zones of peri-urban Vietnam.

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References

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Bakker, K., Kooy, M., Shofiani, N. E. and Martijn, E.J. (2008) ‘Governance failure: rethinking the institutional dimensions of urban water supply to poor households’, World Development, 36(10), 1891–915. Google Scholar

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Buechler, S., Hanson, A. M., Liverman, D. and Gay-Antaki, M. (2015) ‘Advancing multi-disciplinary scholarship on gender, water, and environmental change through feminist political ecology’ in S. Buechler and A-M. Hanson (eds), A political ecology of women, water and global environmental change, Abingdon, Routledge, 199–214. Google Scholar

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McElwee, P. (2010) ‘Economics of adaptation to climate change: social component: national synthesis report for Vietnam’ (report), with contributions from CRES and DRAGON institutes, Vietnam University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona. Google Scholar

McFarlane, C., Desai, R. and Graham, S. (2014) ‘Informal urban sanitation: everyday life, poverty, and comparison’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 104(5), 989–1011. Google Scholar

Buisson, M. C., Curnow, J. and Naz, F. (2017) ‘The gender gap between water management and water users: evidence from Southwest Bangladesh’, SAWAS (South Asian Water Studies), 5(4), 28–41. Google Scholar

McEvoy, D., Ahmed, I., Trundle, A., Sang, L. T., Diem, N. N., Suu, L. T. T. and Mukherjee, N. (2014) ‘In support of urban adaptation: a participatory assessment process for secondary cities in Vietnam and Bangladesh’, Climate and Development, 6(3), 205–15. Google Scholar

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Mani, K. A. S., Rao, V. P. R., Reddy, M. and Babu, C. R. (2015) ‘Women’s voice in water resource management’, in A. Cronin, P. K. Mehta and A. Prakash (eds), Gender issues in water and sanitation programmes: lessons from India, New Delhi, Sage, 174–89. Google Scholar

McFarlane, C., Desai, R. and Graham, S. (2014) ‘Informal urban sanitation: everyday life, poverty, and comparison’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 104(5), 989–1011. Google Scholar

Crow, B. and Sultana, F. (2002) ‘Gender, class, and access to water: three cases in a poor and crowded delta’, Society & Natural Resources, 15(8), 709–24. Google Scholar

Bac Ninh DONRE (2012) ‘The 2011 Bac Ninh Provincial Environment Statement’, Bac Ninh Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Bac Ninh Provincial People’s Committee. Google Scholar

Myrttinen, H. I., Cremades, R., Fröhlich, C. and Gioli, G. (2018) ‘Bridging troubled waters: water security across the gender divide’, in Fröhlich et al., 3–14. Google Scholar

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Drummond, Lisa

Thi Van Le, Hue