Many Siem Reap residents are again becoming the great unwashed because of an extremely erratic water supply.
For days now the supply has been on and off intermittently – some cuts are short, some are long but the process is constant and really annoying.
Officials at the Siem Reap Water Supply authority say the water supply is being affected by two causes.
The Deputy General Director of Siem Reap’s Water Supply Authority, Chan Seng La, told Insider that Siem Reap city’s demand for domestic water has been increasing rapidly, and the water production process could not cope with domestic and commercial customer demand.
Siem Reap Water Supply Authority produces 20, 000 cubic meters daily, but this is not enough, he said.
“Before we predicted that if Siem Reap Water Supply Authority produced 20,000 cubic meters daily, it would be enough for customers in the whole city. But our customer demand increased day by day and now that we do produce 20,000 cubic metres daily, we find that’s still not enough.”
He said the domestic and commercial customer demand is now 25,000 to 30,000 cubic metres per day.
He added, “We are still trying our best to fulfill resident demand and we are now constructing another water plant near the Baray which will be completed in August and will produce 5,000 cubic metres per day.”
The sewage disposal system construction along various roads in Siem Reap city is also a reason why the water is cut off many times a day.
“The water distribution pipes are sometimes cut by workers who dig the holes along the side of the road in the city for the construction of a sewage disposal system. When the pipes are cut we have to fix them and then the water will be cut off around one hour,” Chan Seng La said.
Siem Reap Water Supply Authority deputy director Soum Kounthea told Insider that on March in 2012 the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed an Official Development Assistance to Cambodia loan agreement with the government in Phnom Penh to provide a loan of up to 7,161 million yen (approx. US$91 million) to assist the Siem Reap Water Supply Expansion Project in Tonle Sap Lake.
He said the Siem Reap Water Supply Authority undertook an additional feasibility study on the Tonle Sap Lake for taking water to treatment.
“We are trying so hard by working on a water treatment factory which will be finished in 2018 to take water from Tonle Sap to treatment,” Soum Kounthea said, adding that the Siem Reap Water Supply Authority plans to take around 60,000 cubic metres of water per day from Tonle Sap for treatment in 2018.
He added that the water supply problem was most serious in the Old Market and Central Market areas because the demand there is very high.
He said, “We would like to apologise to customers for this shortage, but please understand the situation.”
He said he has been getting many calls from customers as shortages start, and he suggests storing water while it’s on and using it when the water is off.