The Ministry of Rural Development has set the target of providing 100 per cent clean water supply and sanitation services throughout the Kingdom by 2025, while currently more than 80 per cent has already been achieved.

Ministry secretary of state Chrun Theravat said officials are continuing to implement the National Action Plan on Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Phase 2 (2019-2023) in order to cover 90 per cent of the country by 2023 with access to clean water and sanitation services in rural areas.

Theravat was speaking at an August 1 press conference on “The ministry’s achievements over the past five years” at the Council of Ministers.

He said the government has prepared a National Strategic Plan on Water Supply and Rural Sanitation promotion 2014-2025 with the aim of improving sustainability in providing rural water, health and sanitation services to promote health and nutrition.

“As of the first quarter of this year, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the coverage rate of access to rural water and sanitation has increased to more than 80 per cent,” he said.

Theravat recalled that in 2000, the government set the Cambodian Millennium Development Goal 2015 target for rural water supply of 50 per cent and sanitation of 30 per cent, noting that water supply and sanitation achieved 53 per cent and 52.9 per cent respectively by that year.

In 2014, the government set a new target of 60 per cent for both rural water supply and sanitation in the Strategic Plan for Rural Development 2014-2018 and exceeded the target by increasing the coverage to more than 70 per cent by 2018. As of now, it has reached more than 80 per cent.

According to the ministry’s report on the past five years, it has built 11,741 wells of all kinds, repaired 1,585 damaged wells and rehabilitated and constructed 1,271 community ponds.

The ministry also constructed 3-5-cubic metres and 10,000-litre capacity rainwater reservoirs, with a total of 2,420 reservoirs, and distributed 145,865 large earthenware storage jars for water to people and built 200 tube water distribution systems in villages.

The ministry has also constructed 67 stations for producing community water to fill 20-litre containers; built 330 water producing stations and 10,470 water treatment systems; made 81,613 20-litre containers from concrete and sand filters; provide 22,912 tanks to households for providing drinking water; built 2,000 tanks in 33 schools, 128 small irrigation systems and 13 irrigation pumping stations; and educated 2,692,310 people on the safe use of clean water.

It has been implementing the National Action Plan on Rural Water Supply, cleaning and Sanitation Phase 2 (2019-2023), by setting the coverage target of 90 per cent by 2023.

According to Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA) director-general Long Naro, from 2021, the PPWSA plans to invest with development partners to improve the water supply to the people to ensure that there is no shortage.

He said that past shortages of clean water for Phnom Penh residents was due to various factors that the PPWSA studied across the coverage area of 380sq km.

However, during the implementation of this project, the government had included 20 communes as part of the capital’s territory, where the PPWSA currently supplied up to 670sq km.

“This was like Phnom Penh had one cup of water which needed to be shared with an additional 20 new communes.

“Currently, the PPWSA has the capacity to produce about 60,000 cubic metres of clean water per day. We aim to implement the third master plan from 2021 until 2030. We have determined that people in the city would have enough clean water to use from year to year,” he said.

Naro said it took three years to finish the construction of each project which lead the problem of water shortages while implementing the project from 2018 to 2021.

Theravat stated that the ministry has a clear plan for 2023 to ensure the achievement of 90 per cent coverage and 100 per cent by 2025.