Waterworks Facility Expansion and Maintenance1)

1) Excludes small waterworks and small water supply systems

The government has been making continuous efforts to expand waterworks facilities in agricultural and fishing villages and other vulnerable areas. From 1994 to 2013, a total of 4.330 trillion Korea Won (KRW), including (2.8364 trillion KRW from the National Treasury), was invested to construct 1,169 waterworks facilities in agricultural and fishing villages, islands, and coastal regions. The government set a target to increase the water supply rate in agricultural and fishing villages to 80% by 2017. (For details see Current Policy Focus. (1) Expansion of Waterworks Facilities in Agricultural and Fishing Villages)

Advanced water treatment processes are also being expanded to efficiently remove pollutants. The expansion was triggered by the Nakdong River pollution incident in 1994. Advanced water treatment processes were introduced to 21 drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs) in Han River, Nakdong R., and Geum R. basins and the 50% of the cost was subsidized by the National Treasury. The “Guideline on the Introduction and Assessment of Advanced Water Treatment Process” was enacted in 2005 to clarify the criteria and procedures used to determine whether such process is necessary. In order to control toxicity and odor recently caused by the algal boom in water supply area, the pilot project on installing the advanced treatment process in DWTPs has been carried out since 2013. It resulted in the application of advanced treatment process in 32.3% of local DWTPs by 2013. The government will increase the ratio up to 53% by 2017.

As of 2012, 2.0% and 1.0% of the national population was serviced by the village waterworks and the small-scale water supply facilities, respectively. The village waterworks refer to a general water supply system which services 100 to 2,500 customers and supply 20m3 to 500m3 a day. The small-scale water supply facility is constructed and operated by residents and it services less than 100 customers or less than 20m3 a day. Most of those waterworks and facilities are aged and require improvement because 40 % of them were constructed before 1980s, The government has invested 868.6 billion KRW from 2008 to 2014 to improve the aged waterworks and facilities.

Most of the rust tap water results from the old water supply pipes in a houses. To prevent the rusty water, buildings of a certain size or larger are required to inspect the indoor water supply pipes every two years from five years after construction. If the inspected tap water exceeds the drinking water quality standard, the countermeasures such as cleaning, rehabilitating, or replacing the old water supply pipes must be implemented. The use of galvanized steel pipe, which is very susceptible to the rusty water, has been prohibited since 1994. The low-income houses which still use the galvanized steel pipes can receive the grant from government for the pipe rehabilitation works up to 50% of the re habilitation cost.

Water Demand Management

Past water policy had focus on the supply-side management, but it exhibited the limitation on the sustainable water management. So, the paradigm of water policy shifted from the supply-side to demand-side management. In order to implement the water demand management policy, the “Comprehensive Plan on Water Savings” was formulated in March 2000, And it was further improved to the “Comprehensive Plan on National Water Demand Management(2007)” in September 2007.

The “Comprehensive Plan on Water Savings” (2000) consisted of following policy tasks; (1) expanding water-saving devices and greywater systems, (2) restructuring the water billing system to promote water saving, (3) replacing the old water pipes and so forth. The plan resulted in total tap water savings of 930 million tons by 2012. The “Comprehensive Plan on National Water Demand Management” (2007) covers all stages of water demand from supply to use and reuse. Priority measures for supply, use and reuse stages include the distribution of user-oriented water-saving devices, the reduction of non-revenue water (water leakage ratio) and the reuse of the treated wastewater effluents. The “Comprehensive Plan on National Water Demand Management” aims to save 1,021 million tons of tap water from 2007 to 2016.

Not only new buildings but also existing ones which use high amount of water such as accommodations and bathhouses are required to install taps, toilets and other water-use devices that satisfy the requirement for water-saving performance. As the Water Supply and Waterworks Installation Act was amended in 2011 and 2012, public restrooms and sports facilities should install the water-saving devices and the requirement for water-saving performance was tightened. water-saving performance requirements. When a toilet bowl that uses 13L per flush is replaced with one that uses 6L per flush, it is expected to save 37 tons of water per household. If 5% of all households replace the existing water-use devices with more efficient ones, 31.34 million tons of tap water can be annually saved all over the country. The tightened water-saving standard can help to prepare for drought and summer’s water-use demand, and it can also contribute to the water saving.

Hygiene and Safety Certification for Water Pipe Materials

To prevent the contamination of tap water during the conveyance and distribution from DWTPs to households, the hygiene and safety standard for water pipe materials was established in 2006 and has been enforced in 2009. The hygiene and safety standards regulates the hazardous substances that may be dissolved from pipe materials. It prescribes allowable dissolved levels for 44 types of substances, including heavy metals and organic compounds.

In order to ensure the effectiveness of the hygiene and safety standard, the certification system was introduced and has been in operation since May 2011. A company which manufactures or imports water pipe material/product must obtain the certification from the certification agency, Korea Water and Wastewater Works Association. The certification can be issued for the pipe material/product which passes the manufacturing factory evaluation and the product testing, and the certified product is marked with a certification label. The certification agency may test the certified products on the market and announce the results on the certification information network.

For more information, please contact us :
Public Relations Team  (mepr@korea.kr)   
Last modified : 2017-12-12 08:38

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