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Australia to support piped water supply

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Workers are digging a trench for water pipes along a road in Bak Kheng village of Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district in February. Hong Menea

Australia to support piped water supply

The Australian government will support Cambodia’s effort to provide piped clean water to rural areas as its Provincial Investment Plan study revealed that less than 50 per cent of villages in the country were connected to piped water in 2020.

The study showed that while only 47 per cent of villages had piped water, this figure can increase quickly with public-private partnerships to increase private sector investment in clean piped water.

“This study was conducted by Australia’s AUD49 million (US$38 million) investing in infrastructure [3i] Programme in Cambodia,” the Australian embassy said in press release on June 15.

The study looked at the supply of piped water in 22 provinces, calculating the cost of bringing piped water to unconnected villages.

During a meeting on June 15 with Minister of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation Cham Prasidh to increase bilateral cooperation on access to clean piped water, the embassy’s Chargé d’Affaires Luke Arnold said Australia would work with the Cambodian government to develop the country’s water sector.

Arnold said this is because of the effect access to clean water has on people’s health and livelihoods. This study shows opportunities for increasing access such as with public-private partnerships.

“The embassy’s contribution to Cambodia’s piped water supply was consistent with Australia’s wider approach to infrastructure development in Cambodia, including prioritising initiatives that finance sustainably and deliver benefits to Cambodian households,” Arnold said.

Prasidh said the government’s aim is to provide 100 per cent clean water to urban areas by 2025, and access for all Cambodians by 2030.

He also said the 3i database was developed with the General Directorate of Water Supply.

“We believe that we are on the right track. I thank Australia for all the assistance they have provided to the ministry,” he said.

Through 3i, Australia has given over A$19.8 million in investment subsidies to nearly 80 private water operators to set up and increase piped water supply to rural homes in the Kingdom.

Once finished, the programme will provide piped water to more than one million people.

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