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Ministry to regulate well drilling business

Drilling a well in Laos will no longer be as simple as it used to be now that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has stepped in to regulate these operations.
The Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Mr Sommad Pholsena, signed a ministerial decision at the end of last month that authorises natural resource officials to regulate well drilling businesses around the country.
The move comes amid the rapid growth of the well drilling business. Many people, particularly in the countryside, hire businesses to drill wells so they can get water for household use, livestock, their crops, or for commercial purposes.
Large areas of Laos have no piped water and the growing demand for water has led to a spike in the number of wells.  
Under the ministerial decision, accessible in the Lao official gazette, businesses that offer well drilling services must obtain an operating licence from the natural resource and environment departments in Vientiane and the relevant province. 
Operators must possess proper knowledge and expertise in the field, the ministerial decision stipulates.  
Individuals or companies that want to own small wells must seek permission from natural resource and environment officials in the district concerned.
Those who want to own medium or large wells must get permission from natural resources and environment officials in Vientiane and the province where the well is to be located. This will ensure that wells are dug in a suitable area.
In the past, people could dig wells anywhere they wanted. In the countryside, almost every farm and village has a well. Wells are considered the best source of clean water in remote areas. 
According to the ministerial decision, people who own wells must pay a water usage fee, as defined in the presidential decree on state service fees.
The ministerial decision also states that the regulation of wells is necessary to ensure a sustainable supply of groundwater.
The regulation of well drilling is also aimed at ensuring that the quality of water obtained from wells is suitable for human consumption. 

By Ekaphone Phouthonesy  
(Latest Update April 19, 2019)


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