The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA) announced the construction of a fifth water treatment station yesterday, saying that without an additional plant, the capital could face a severe clean-water shortage as soon as 2017.
Speaking at a press conference organised by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, PPWSA deputy director Samreth Sovithchea told reporters that the capital’s current clean-water capacity will be around 460,000 cubic metres per day by 2016 – when a still-unfinished treatment station is completed – but by 2017, increases in demand will leave residents high and dry again.
“We survey that water use is increasing by two per cent every year. Since we know that the population in the city will have increased, and the capacity of our four water stations will be limited in 2016, we found that there will be a shortage of water in the city by 2017,” Sovithchea said.
The proposed project will include a station with a capacity of 130,000 cubic metres per day, as well as a 700-kilometre expansion of the city’s pipe network, Sovithchea added, with the $50 million price tag paid by the government and donors. The price of water for consumers will not change, he continued.
The PPWSA’s last announced project, “Niroth 2” in Phnom Penh‘s Meanchey district, is scheduled to begin construction at the end of the year, and to begin producing 131,000 cubic metres of clean water daily by 2016.
According to a JICA operation summary, Cambodia has a goal of achieving 80 per cent penetration for clean water nationwide by 2015 – a roughly 30 per cent increase from the current figure.
Chan Samtha, a resident of Dangkor district on the city’s outskirts, said that access to free-flowing water for her neighbours was hampered by the fact that residents must pay for their own pipes to connect to the grid.
“Poor people who live far away from the city find it difficult to get clean water, because [the pressure] is so weak,” she said. “That is because we do not have enough [money] for the pipe network.”