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Water shortages hit outer suburbs

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Water tanks in Phnom Penh’s Kamboul commune. Facebook

Water shortages hit outer suburbs

Around 40,000 families in the Phnom Penh suburbs are expected to face water shortages in the dry season. To address the issue, the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA) has made provisions to provide water to them, a senior PPWSA official said.

In a Facebook post on March 23, PPWSA director-general Sim Sitha said the authority would allow residents to take water from municipal sources at 16 locations in the suburbs. Residents can also get water from fire engines deployed on public roads.

“We have also prepared trucks in collaboration with Phnom Penh Municipal Hall in dispensing water for people when there are water shortages. These are the precautions we have implemented and the water that we will distribute is free of charge,” he said.

Currently, PPWSA can produce about 600,000m3 of clean water per day, but public demand for water is more than 700,000m3 per day. This shortfall as well as low water pressure has affected citizens who have to wait for water in some outer suburbs, especially at night.

According to the senior official, generally, full water pressure is in the centre of Phnom Penh while weak pressure is in communes on the city’s outskirts.

“For this work, we have a clear master plan for water usage in Phnom Penh and Kandal province’s Takhmao town. We also have a long-term plan, and we are also cooperating with development partners through the government to find investment to build more water treatment plants as well,” he said.

Sim Sitha noted that PPWSA has recently inaugurated a clean water construction site in Chroy Changvar district’s Bak Kheng commune, with phase I of the project expected to be completed in mid-2022 and the second in mid-2023.

“Therefore, between 2023 and 2025 we can address residents’ concerns over water shortages and [successfully] implement the government’s policy for everybody to have 100 per cent clean water by 2025,” he said.

Sitha said PPWSA plans to build a new water treatment facility in TaKhmao town with a grant from the Japanese government. PPWSA, he added, is currently preparing the bidding documents. Another project to build a facility in Boeung Thom near the Prampi Makara dam in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district with a grant from the Czech Republic is also in the pipeline. Both projects are scheduled to be completed in 2024.

PPWSA has recently called on residents to use water sparingly to enable those living on the outskirts to have enough water during the dry season.

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