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Water Resource

Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology (MOWRAM) is responsible for developing and managing water resources in Cambodia, while Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) is responsible specifically for Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS) and MIME is responsible for supply of clean drinking water to provincial capitals and medium/ small towns, as well as of the regulation of the private sector involved in piped water systems.

Urban water supply business which MIME manages is defined as;

  1. Possessing the water treatment facilities
  2. Supplying clean water through piped water system
  3. Charging the users the water cost

The urban areas are also defined as the areas having;

  1. Population density is over 2,000 persons/ km2
  2. Ratio of agricultural population is less than 50%
  3. Population of the area is over 2,000 persons

In Phnom Penh, the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA), a public enterprise, is responsible for providing water since 1996. The Siem Reap Water Supply Authority (SRWSA) supplies water in Siem Reap. The Department of Potable Water Supply (DPWS) of MIME is responsible for water supply through piped network for 11 provincial capitals and for approximately 60 medium and small towns. It is said, currently, that approximately 122 private licensees supply water on a commercial basis under the supervision of MIME-DPWS. Department of Rural Water Supply (DRWS) and Department of Rural Health Care (DRHC) of the MRD are responsible for rural water supply for the smaller towns and villages with less than 1,000 households.

In Cambodia, as shown in Table IV-4-1, 36.2% of total households have source of drinking water within their premises in 2008.[1] Especially, this proportion is 29.4% in rural areas, while 67.4% in urban areas. The RGC has made efforts to improve access to safe water in urban and rural areas in collaboration with foreign donors, such as World Bank, ADB and JICA.

Table IV-4-1 Distribution of Households by Location of Source of Drinking Water (2008)

Location of Source













Within the premises








Source: NIS (2008)

In both urban and rural areas, one of the key issues is the poor operation and maintenance of water supply facilities. Because of the lack of government budget, however, it is difficult for the RGC to renew or improve these facilities. Therefore, RGC encourages the private sector to participate in water supply in various forms (e.g. lease, BOT/BOO concession). More and more private firms and NGOs are expected to participate actively in rural as well as urban water supply.

As of 2009, there were 111 urban centers that have access to drinking water from drinking water supply systems and it was estimated that about 51% of urban population in Cambodia have access to drinking water supplied from Water Supply Authorities of urban centers. In Phnom Penh, it is estimated that around 90% of the population could access to safe drinking water 24 hours a day.[2]


[1] National Institute of Statistics (NIS) (2009) General Population Census of Cambodia 2008

[2] National Strategic Development Plan Update 2009-2013

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