Plans are in the works to bolster Sihanoukville’s future water supply after the province faced severe shortages earlier this month that cut water to 50 per cent of residents, officials said on Sunday.
Prak Prakod, director of the provincial water supply authority (WSA), told the Post that Sihanoukville’s water supply had been restored in full, thanks to the recent rainfall and the resumption of supply from Kbal Chhay waterfall, 16 kilometres from Sihanoukville town.
“Currently, we have no problem with the supply of fresh water, and we have connected the two pipelines from Kbal Chhay to Sihanoukville,” he said, adding that authorities and private supplier Anco Water Supply Co are planning to build two new larger pipelines to support future demand.
He also announced a new project between the Ministry of Industry, Mining and Energy and the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) to next year rebuild the Boeung Prek Toub reservoir that services Sihanoukville.
The reservoir will be deepened to between four to five metres and expanded to hold up to 1.2 million cubic metres of fresh water, he said.
“So we hope that we will not have any problem with the supply of fresh water in future years,” he added.
But JICA spokesperson Seng Solady told the Post yesterday that they are yet to sign up to the project and are still “considering the possibility” after receiving an inquiry from the government.
The WSA’s announcement comes after Prime Minister Hun Sen warned on Friday that action must be taken to address chronic water shortages in Sihanoukville because of the potential economic fallout of a decline in tourism.
Authorities began cutting water to various parts of the city in late March after the reservoir ran dry because of hot weather.
A fire destroyed some guesthouses, bars and restaurants on one of the tourism hub’s busiest streets on March 31 as firefighters scrambled to replenish hydrants depleted by the water shortage.
Additional reporting by Sen David and Kevin Ponniah