Despite an increase in the number of operators working to improve the water supply in Cambodia, attendees of a recent conference say that both public and private industry members are facing extensive challenges.

Speaking at the opening of the 4th Cambodia Water Conference and Exhibition 2022, Phon Sokun, owner of Tbeng Kpos Water Supply Station in Kampong Chhnang Province, said that clean water

business operators are not only in this business for profit, but also to give back to society.

He believes that like him, all clean water operators have gone through many difficulties.

“The most difficult part of phase one of my business was digging a pipe network through a minefield. Each time new roads are constructed, my pipelines are affected. The rural population has a low understanding of the use of clean water or of the importance of pipe maintenance. This cause damage to the networks, and the loss of a lot of water, both of which are expensive,” he said.

He expressed the hope that many of these challenges would be addressed by a nationwide clean water policy.

“As clean water operators, we should also be striving to improve the quality and sustainability of the clean water supply to the public,” he added.

Sim Sitha, secretary of state of the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation, acknowledged the issue, saying that the relevant ministries and institutions have been speeding up preparation of a draft law on water supply management. The draft law had passed the inter-ministerial working group and would soon be ready to submit to a plenary meeting of the Council of Ministers.

He added that the law’s main purpose was to manage the clean water sector to ensure quality, efficiency and good service for water operators and consumers. He expected that it would address the challenges facing the sector.

The government has launched a national strategic plan for clean water. Its goals are to provide 100 per cent of urban people with access to clean water services by 2025, while by 2030, people all over the Kingdom should have clean drinking water.

According to the science ministry, about 34 per cent of all people in Cambodia have access to clean running water. In order to achieve the national strategic plan’s goals, the Ministry urged the private sector to increase investment in clean water supply.