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PM urges saving power, water

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A woman washes her hands in Boeung Kak commune of Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district. Heng Chivoan

PM urges saving power, water

Prime Minister Hun Sen requested the nation’s public and state institutions to participate in reducing electricity and clean water consumption to alleviate pressures on the national budget and enable funds to be diverted to other targeted areas.

In remarks during the groundbreaking ceremony for construction of the Bakheng water treatment plant, Hun Sen said that the capital’s water supply was being depleted due to a rapid increase in population. He suggested that both citizens and government institutions should conserve electricity and clean water to ensure maintenance of adequate reserves.

“We should save on the consumption of both electricity and water and not be wasteful. It is not only families but especially government institutions which must use electricity carefully,” he said.

“In order to reduce the electricity consumption, the most important thing is not to set air conditioners too cold. Covid-19 flourishes in cold weather, so be careful. Please turn off air conditioners and lights when not in use. Other countries that are rich are good at conserving and do not waste,” Hun Sen said.

The Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol noted that the ministry’s new main building and also the newly inaugurated “Techo Sen Institute of Public Works and Transport” were equipped with solar panels during construction.

Chanthol said that by equipping the ministry’s building with solar power, they were able to realise a cost savings of $30,000 per month.

The NGO Forum on Cambodia’s Environment and Agriculture Programme Manager Hok Menghoin told The Post that if all parties comply with leadership’s call to save water and electricity, it would not only facilitate monetary savings but also contribute to combating climate change.

“Nowadays, from year to year in Cambodia and around the whole world, there is an increase in demand for electricity. It detrimentally affects biodiversity and the environment with CO2 emissions,” he said.

Menghoin stressed that government institutions as well as the public needed to develop awareness of the importance of conserving electricity for the benefit of the economy and the environment.

He urged the government to invest in domestic renewable energy production as Cambodia has great potential to generate its own electricity which would reduce imports from neighbouring countries and associated costs.

Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra told The Post that he supported leadership’s initiative to further implement use of renewable energy systems and to reduce consumption.

“In terms of renewable energy, Cambodia is making great steps and plans to use solar power generation to account for 10 per cent of total power consumption across the country in the future,” he said.

Currently, the state discounts household water consumption, charging 400 riel (US$0.10) for each of the first seven cubic metres of water consumed by households in each two-month billing period. Prices rise incrementally up to 2,400 riel per unit for consumption greater than 502 cubic metres.

“Customers such as ministries, institutions and embassies pay 2,500 riel per cubic metre without limited quantity which is most expensive. As these ministries are spending state money, it becomes a bit expensive, and therefore, we need to conserve it,” Hun Sen stated.

The upgraded Chamcar Mon water treatment plant inaugurated on February 1 can produce 52,000 cubic metres of clean water per day, an improvement over its previous daily capacity of 12,000 cubic metres.

The Bakheng water treatment plant is scheduled to begin operations in the first quarter of 2024 with a daily production capacity around 400,000 cubic metres.

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