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Cheap water deal

May Kunmakara / Khmer Times Share:

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday urged the state-owned Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority to buyout infrastructure owned by private companies providing water to the outskirts of the capital.
Mr. Hun Sen made the call during the inauguration of the Niroth Water Treatment Plant Phase II in Phnom Penh, saying the move would help standardize water prices for the public.
In the past, a lack of state capacity meant private companies were invited to supply clean water to some communes. But the premier said that is no longer necessary.
“Before, we allowed private companies to invest in bringing clean water to communes that were formerly in Kandal province,” Mr. Hun Sen said.
“But now those communes are under the jurisdiction of Phnom Penh, so the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority should buy the water supply lines.”
The premier said some of the communes are supplied by companies owned by business tycoon and CPP member Oknha Kok An.
“We have to inject capital to buy the water supply lines owned by Oknha Kok An to ensure the water supply for people in those communes,” he said.
“Some communes in former Kandal province districts are already part of Phnom Penh, but are still using water supplied by private companies, who charge different prices from the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority.
“I hope that Oknha Kok An understands this.”
Ek Sonn Chan, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Industry and Handicrafts, told Khmer Times that talks with private companies to discuss the buyouts are underway.
“It is good the Prime Minister has given us the green light for this because we want to provide cheap and clean water to the public,” he said.
In 2010, more than 20 Kandal province communes joined Phnom Penh. Phnom Penh now has 96 communes and 909 villages in 20 districts.
Cham Prasidh, the Minister of Industry and Handicrafts, said demand for clean water keeps increasing rapidly, reflecting the fast development of the country, especially in Phnom Penh, where the water authority connects about 14,000 new households every year.
“We keep investing to expand our water lines and build new water treatment plants,” he said.
“Water consumption demand will increase to 0.8 million cubic meters per day by 2025 and to one million cubic meters per day by 2030,” he said.
“By 2025, some 90 percent of Phnom Penh dwellers will receive clean water from the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority and the other 10 percent will have access to alternative clean water sources.”
Following the inauguration of the Niroth Water Treatment Plant Phase II, the water authority will also be able to supply a further 560 cubic meters of water per day to districts on the outskirts of Phnom Penh and Takmao City in Kandal province, or an extra 331 customers this year.

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