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Clean water for city outskirts

Clean water for city outskirts

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Representatives of the Japanse International Co-operation Agency and the Japanese Embassy tour Phnom Penh’s Niroth 1 water station with journalists. Photograph: Sen David/Phnom Penh Post

The inclusion of 20 communes to the central Phnom Penh water supply in the past year has resulted in a dramatic increase in demand and subsequent shortages, Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority officials said yesterday.

But help is on the way in the form of a new water station.

Dubbed “Niroth 2,” the station is scheduled to begin construction at the end of the year and be completed in 2016, providing a new water source for the former Kandal communes, many of which still have no access to clean water despite the 2012 switchover.

“Water demand in Phnom Penh is growing fast day to-day, especially following the commune’s residents [formerly in] Kandal who were moved to Phnom Penh,” Samreth Sovithiea, a deputy director at the authority, said.

“There are 400,000 cubic metres needed per day in Phnom Penh, but we can supply only 300,000,” he added.

The new water station, the municipality’s fifth, will be located in Meanchey district and is being built with the help of a $30 million loan from France.

In the 20 communes added to the main city supply this year, even the residents already connected to the pipeline – at an average cost of 300,000 riel, or about $75 – are experiencing shortages as the available flow loses pressure on its way to the city’s edge.

Svay Chearn, a resident of Arie Ksach commune, one of the new communes expected to benefit, is still finding it difficult to get clean water.

“It is far away [the supply] from the city, and that’s why water from Phnom Penh is so weak,” Chearn said.

The station will eradicate the issue, officials say, producing 131,000 cubic metres of safe drinking water daily.

In addition to the loan from France, the project will receive an as yet undetermined amount of funding from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and receive a portion of Cambodia’s annual grant from Japan, which provides $150 million a year for an array of projects in the social, economic and political sectors.

The Cambodian government has said a policy will be introduced in 2020 allowing free connections to the main supply for poorer families.

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