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Capital residents urged to save water

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A woman running her water tap in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district in February last year. Heng Chivoan

Capital residents urged to save water

The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA) continues to request that people living in the centre of Phnom Penh use water sparingly to help reduce shortages in the western and southern suburbs, as around 40,000 families residing in villages in those areas do not have enough water to use.

“With the onset of the rainy season, the demand for clean water is increasing and the simultaneous use of water in each household is making the water pressure and its flow unequal,” said Prime Minister Hun Sen in a more than nine-minute video recorded on behalf of the PPWSA and posted to his Facebook page.

According to the PPWSA, because Phnom Penh is the heart of the Kingdom and is experiencing rapid economic growth and an ever-increasing population, the demand for water in the capital is also surging.

PPWSA called for the patience and understanding of those individuals and families who have been affected by the decreased water pressure or shortages.

PPWSA director-general Long Naro said in the video that the PPWSA’s goal was to ensure the efficient management and production of water for the entire city 24 hours per day.

He noted that the city only has four water treatment plants currently, but the Bak Kheng Water Treatment Plant is actively under construction and more than 60 per cent complete since construction began in February of 2021.

He also noted that the capital water supply was affected by the dry season with the river level dropping lower than the historical average and causing water imbalances that create differences in water pressure, both stronger and weaker, when many customers are all using water at the same time.

“However, the PPWSA is hard at work making efforts to expand, especially considering the lack of water in the suburbs. We have already dealt with many affected areas, especially to the west and south of Phnom Penh,” he said.

“Kamboul district – which for five years had never had water although the network was already there – now has [sufficient] water supply,” he said.

In Por Sen Chey district, Naro noted, the Chhouk Va and Chhouk Va II areas did not have any water in the past either, especially in gated communities known locally as borey, but now there is enough water in those neighbourhoods as well.

“Please be informed that in Phnom Penh at present, our capacity to produce clean water is about 600,000 cubic metres per day, and to meet demand we need about 800,000 cubic metres of water per day. Thus, we lack about 200,000 cubic metres per day,” he said.

He called on the people living in the centre of Phnom Penh to save water during the dry seasons in 2022 and 2023.

“After 2023, we will have enough water to use when the new plant comes online,” he said.

Heng Ratha, a resident of Por Sen Chey district, expressed happiness that the PPWSA would be able to provide sufficient water to villages in his area this year, though he said low water pressure remained a difficulty.

Phon Rady, a borey resident in Kamboul district, said: “When the scheduled time arrives for us to get water, some people store as much of it as they can to use later. Other residents, however, just make-do with the well water even if it is 6am and very cold.”

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