The Ministry of Industry and Handicrafts will propose a new law to improve clean water management in Cambodia. It also warned of crackdowns on clean water supply businesses which are unlicensed or do not have a valid licence.

The new law will state the obligations on water supply management rules and stipulate the penalty for violations, said senior officials of the ministry on Wednesday at the Clean Water Conference and Exhibition 2019.

The conference gathered stakeholders from the public and private clean water sector for discussions on new ideas to manage the industry.

The event was attended by more than 300 government officials, Australian embassy representatives, private companies and other stakeholders at a restaurant in Phnom Penh.

The ministry’s secretary of state Um Sotha said the Kingdom has 280 clean water suppliers, of which 266 are in the private sector.

Hence, the ministry urged the Cambodian Water Supply Association (CWA) to encourage and support private clean water operators to strengthen their capacity in terms of technology, production and capital.

He said the ministry will carry out reforms and implement legal standards, especially focusing on the creation of a new law on clean water supply management in which obligations on management measures and penalties will be stipulated.

Also, all municipal and provincial departments must carry out law enforcement on unlicensed clean water supply businesses and those with an invalid license.

Kampong Speu provincial Department of Industry and Handicraft director Nuon Sophoan said he will follow the ministry’s directives. He said in his province there are no clean water supply businesses that are unlicensed or without a valid licence.

“The new law is not ready, but once we implement it, the penalty for any operator or business violating the regulations would be stipulated,” Sophoan said.

CWA president Un Yuthy said 25 per cent of the Kingdom’s population or four million are receiving piped water supply.

In Cambodia’s water supply network, private clean water suppliers have a significant contribution with around 500 stations which provide clean water via pipes.

“What is necessary for us now is that clean water suppliers need technology or new techniques to reduce the use of electrical energy as well as increase the quality of clean water supply services,” Yuthy said.

Australian Ambassador to Cambodia Angela Corcoran said her country had invested more than A$20 million (US$13.8 million) in the clean water programme in Cambodia.

Around 900,000 Cambodians or six per cent of the total population have benefited from the clean water programme.

“Besides, the Australian government has provided aid of around A$84.2 million (US$58.1 million) to agricultural programmes in Cambodia to help develop the water system which can help more than 10,000 families of farmers in the Kingdom,” she added.