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Gouging claims: Water prices on rise in Sihanoukville

Gouging claims
Sihanoukville's ongoing water shortage is making it rain for some private suppliers of the precious liquid.

NGOs and local authorities said yesterday that the cost of a tank of 2,000 litres of water had increased by $10 to $40.

“Residents are lacking water and electricity. Two of my neighbours are building wells for their own use, because they cannot afford the raised prices,” said Bun Narith, provincial investigator for the rights group Licadho.

Commune 4 chief Khuon Sarun said the increased prices have hit guesthouses, hotels and other businesses the hardest, but added that the eight-day issue was waning now that running water was occasionally available.

The price of water from the public water mains hasn’t increased.

Water shortages have crippled the town after the Boeung Prek Tub reservoir dried up because of the heat and high demand.

A lack of electricity has further prevented authorities from pumping water from Kbal Chhay, a water source 16km away from town.

Now, said Sor Diny, of the Sor Diny Guesthouse, “the income I get from guests is just enough to pay for water”.

But the main private water supplier of Commune 4, who asked to be identified only as Touch, denied allegations of profiteering, saying he had increased prices by only $2.50, not $10.

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