Cam Ly Minority Children’s Hostel water bore

Why was it initiated?

Cam Ly Children’s home (CLMCH) functions as a hostel for 50-60 minority school students (primary to high school ages). All students are poor and from difficult social circumstances: single parents, an ill parent, low wages and so on. Because of that, the children would not normally be able to attend school and, in some circumstances, not even taken care of, without the aid of this institution. Four nuns take care of them – supplying food, clothing, study facilities, books, medicines, care and support. 

A large cost is water (~2 million VND/month ~115AUD). Because of its’ elevated location, water cannot be pumped to their storage tanks until midnight and, sometimes, it only runs for 2-3 hours. Government restrictions often result in them being without water for up to a week and, in those circumstances, they walk ~1 km to beg for essential water.

What were its aims 

To supplement water needs of CLMCH using the most cost effective and long term solution. 

To find that solution using extensive local input supplemented by expert opinion from Australia and in-country visits. 

When did it run?


Who has been involved?

Cam Ly Sr Dao

MESCH Narelle and John Cassey

Other Phillip Taylor, Nick Thompson, Cameron Wood and Glen Shennan – engineers, Australia

What happened?Core

Discussion was face-to-face and by phone. Following in-country visits and consultation with experts in Australia, we initially suggested an underground tank. This was rejected by the nuns as its’ cost was roughly equivalent to a bore and was estimated to supply water for only 3-4months/year. Sr Dao sought local opinion, resulting in strong support for the bore option by CLMCH. Recognising the risk that a bore might not find a good water supply, a decision was nevertheless made to proceed with it -powered from mains with CLMCH having funds to cover ongoing costs including electricity and maintenance. Solar was rejected at this time because of an estimated cost of ~10,000AUD. 

A 110m shaft with automatic pump was drilled and supplied 8L3/day ( ½ of CLMCH’s full requirements). It required maintenance in 2014 and we have no further updates since then. 

We estimated costs of up to 11,474 AUD and provided 11,500 AUD.


The consultation process was not as open as we had hoped. This related both to our inexperience and to poor co-ordination between Australian experts and Sr Dao. A larger budget would have produced a much more complete solution. We were unwilling to provide that without further consultation and costs were increasing in Vietnam. Given those constraints, the process and final solution achieved our aims.

The bore has allowed all the children access to a reliable water supply for hygiene (washing, bathing and toileting). The toilets are no longer smelly and dirty and 900 coffee trees were planted on previously uncultivated land around CLMCH.




Want to know more?    Email