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Gov’t and NGO seek to expand access to water

A young woman pumps water into containers at a well in Koh Kong province in 2014.
A young woman pumps water into containers at a well in Koh Kong province in 2014. Heng Chivoan

Gov’t and NGO seek to expand access to water

As the Kingdom grapples with water shortages, the Ministry of Rural Development and NGO Plan International have set a goal to bring clean water sources to 60 per cent of Cambodia’s 12 million rural residents by 2018.

According to a 2014 economic survey, 47 per cent of rural Cambodians had access to clean drinking water.

The ministry’s water department president, Mao Saray, revealed the focus on increasing that number at a Saturday speech at the Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Center.

Plan International water specialist Hang Hy Bonna explained that officials made five action plans after a recent policy review.

He praised the willingness to act, saying that the ministry can sometimes be too passive.

“They need to take action, not wait for their development partners,” he said.

The plans include creating more water-treatment facilities and teaching communities about protecting water against contamination from chemicals or animal droppings.

They also include more partnerships with the private sector to find a replacement for hand-pumped wells, which are the predominant way of getting water in Cambodia but are frequently broken, Bonna said.

Finally, they will work on setting up a small local committee of three to five people for each well and water source, to resolve problems faster.

The ministry was not available for comment yesterday.