Relevant national and international institutions working to promote the clean water sector in the Kingdom claimed that the 4th Cambodia Water Conference and Exhibition, held for two days from November 29-30, would spur development and improve the effective management of clean water supply services.

Speaking at the opening of the conference, Sim Sitha, secretary of state at the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation, said the event had selected a theme which reflected the challenges of climate change: “Value water. Do not wait for the last drop to ensure water sustainability in the future!”

The government has launched a strategic plan for 100 per cent of the urban population to have access to clean water by 2025, with the entire Kingdom to be connected to clean water supplies by 2030.

He said the ministry has set four conditions for the production and supply of clean water. It must be of high quality, safe, sustainable and affordable.

“Despite the increase in the number of water supply operators, challenges still exist for both public utilities and private clean operators. We recognise that the management of some suppliers does not meet the national standards set by the ministry,” he added.

Therefore, this year’s water exhibition was an important opportunity to share knowledge, skills and experience in the field of water supply, and especially to learn about new technologies that could improve the sector.

Leng Khieu, chairman of the board of directors of the Cambodian Water Suppliers Association (CWSA), said CWSA currently has a total of 317 members, 284 of them are water supply service providers in 23 provinces/towns.

He added that the conference was an excellent chance for members to expand their knowledge and learn new skills.

“Currently, about 34 per cent of people in Cambodia have access to clean running water. In order to achieve the goals of the National Strategic Plan for Clean Water, we need the participation of development partners and the involvement of the private sector,” said Sitha.

The government has encouraged the private sector to participate by offering 20 year licences to supply clean water, and has also introduced laws and policies to protect and support investors in the sector.