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Poipet poor ‘bearing brunt of water woes’

A private utilities company owned by wealthy businessman and ruling Cambodian People’s Party Senator Kok An is fulfilling only about half of Poipet’s demand for clean water, despite being contracted to supply the whole town, according to the city governor.

With priority for the distribution of the current 10,000 cubic metres per day that Anco Water Supply produces given to the town’s businesses and wealthy areas, Poipet governor Ngor Mengchruon said, poorer locals are forced to rely on untreated water from wells and pumps.

“Until now, the poor people in Poipet town are facing a clean water shortage,” he said. “Water is life. If we drink clean water, we will have good health, but if we drink the dirty water, our health will be weak, so we want all our people to get clean water to use.”

Anco, a subsidiary of An’s Anco Brothers Company, has pledged to double clean water provision in the border town by 2019 to meet demand.

Bin Yoy, who manages the water supply for Anco in Poipet, said that following an inspection of Anco’s facilities by Minister of Industry and Handicrafts Cham Prasidh on Sunday, the company had decided to build more reservoirs.

“Our company has decided to buy 100 hectares of land from the villagers to build more reservoirs and water catchments, and we are preparing the clean water supply network to three downtown areas,” he said.

During Prasidh’s visit on Sunday, the minister suggested that Anco build a water drainage system so that dirty water could be channeled away from the town for treatment.

The annual dry season adds strain to an already under-resourced sector. Last year, Prime Minister Hun Sen lambasted the local authorities in Preah Sihanouk province – where Anco is also responsible for providing clean water – for not providing an adequate water supply during the drought.

And last month, CPP Senator Ly Yong Phat copped criticism from hundreds of families in Koh Kong province after reservoirs operated by his LYP Group ran dry.

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