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Water shortage hits Preah Sihanouk

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Children fill bottles at a village’s ground water pump. Despite continuous rain in the past weeks, Preah Sihanouk province is experiencing a shortage of clean water. Hong Menea

Water shortage hits Preah Sihanouk

Though rain has been falling in almost every corner of the country, including in Preah Sihanouk province, the latter is experiencing a shortage of clean water supply, said local residents and government officials.

Leang Veasna, a shop owner who lives in Sihanoukville’s Buon commune, told The Post that for the past month, his expenses on clean water for daily consumption had risen, following the shortage of water from the province’s water supply authority.

“I need to spend at least $50 a week to purchase water from private sellers because the government has a problem supplying water to the people. Sometimes there is no water at all ... Not even a drop,” he said.

Rin Chanthea, 38, a villager in Sihanoukville’s Mouy commune, complained of insufficient water supply despite continuous rains. He questioned how there could be water supply during the dry season but not when it rained?

Most of Praek Tob, Kbal Chhay waterfall’s second largest water reservoir, has already been filled.

Chanthea said the filling up of water sources is of much concern as clean water will not meet the demand of an increasing number of hotels, casinos, factories, enterprises, restaurants and guesthouses.

“People’s lives depend on fresh water to drink and consume. What if the sources of fresh water have been filled up? So, in the future, what is our livelihood going to be like?”

Preah Sihanouk provincial water authority head Phorn Ratanak admitted that water supply is a problem.

“Currently, our unit buys 95% of clean water [from Anco Water Supply Co Ltd] to supply the consumers. But, Anco needs to supply to more customers in the special economic zone in Preah Sihanouk province – huge hotels and casinos."

“Therefore, the supply for the provincial water authority is insufficient and only meets about 85-90% of our needs only,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ratanak urged the people, government officials and vendors to be patient until late December. He said clean water will be fully supplied as Anco is accelerating the development of the water pipe network and its water reservoirs.

Anco’s Preah Sihanouk provincial director-general Nam Kie Teng told The Post that the company has nearly completed the installation of two main pipelines and that development of its water reservoirs will be completed in November.

Tests may begin between early to late December and clean water supply in Preah Sihanouk province will have no more problems despite the population and factory growth, Kie Teng said.

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