Specialist working in the clean water sector have expressed their optimism over the draft water management law that was approved by the Council of Ministers on January 13.

Phon Sokun, a member of the Cambodian Water Supply Association (CWA), expressed his support for the law’s approval. He was involved in drafting the law, and said it would help to boost clean water service to the residents of the Kingdom.

“This will improve our ability to provide this necessary public service and support the well-being and livelihood of citizens,” he said, calling for the law to be implemented as soon as possible.

“In the past, there were some unscrupulous traders who did not abide by industry standards and regulations. Some businesses were made to suffer by traders who could effectively hold them ransom using the water supply. Avoiding those kinds of problems is one reason why I want to see the law in effect,” he added.

Hang Hybunna, programme manager from Plan International, also supported the law.

“Currently, there is a policy in place, but no in depth rules. Through this law, I hope the management of the clean water sector will become more transparent,” he said.

The draft law was approved by the Council of Ministers at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Hun Sen on January 13. The government considers the management and development of the water sector one of the most important contributors to the socio-economic development of the Kingdom.

Phay Siphan, Minister Delegate attached to the Prime Minister and the government spokesman, said the draft law was initiated by the former Ministry of Industry and Handicrafts in 2016. It was discussed and revised under the mandate of the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation, with initial support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

“The law will respond to the context of social development, and will define four basic conditions for the supply of water. The four are that water must be high-quality, safe, sustainable and affordable. This will enable it to meet the people’s needs, improve public welfare and respond to the demands of industry,” he added.

The draft has yet to pass the debate stage of the National Assembly and the Senate. A date for the bill to be discussed has yet to be set.