More than 600 families in Pailin municipality have been forced to find alternative supplies of water after two pumps supplying piped water to residents broke down earlier this month, officials said.
Mey Makk, Pailin deputy governor, said that he and other residents have subsequently had to purchase their water from entrepreneurs selling water from the back of trucks.
He added that he had heard that a company was going to invest in creating a large-scale water delivery system for Pailin, but that there has been no official agreement with the municipality yet.
Chhay Kea, a 40-year-old villager in Pailin district, said he had no choice but to buy water from the trucks. But he added that there is a serious drawback to doing so.
“One problem is that if I want to buy water from the truck I have to buy the truck’s entire supply of water,” he said. “I don’t have enough cisterns to store it, so I need other people to share it.”
Houn Sengly, representative for the Clean Water Purchase Company, which operates the pumps, said Sunday that both machines ceased to function on the same day two weeks ago. He expressed hope that they will be operational later this week.
The pumps take water from the Otavao stream and pipe it to people’s homes.
Prum Sarath, Pailin district police chief, said his family has also had to purchase water from mobile water vendors. He said that in the past, water from the truck costs about $2.50 for 5 to 6 cubic meters, but this recently doubled because of hikes in gasoline prices.
He added, however, that the quality of the trucked water is better than that offered by Clean Water Purchase.
Houn Sengly said that Clean Water Purchase charges $0.50 for one cubic meter of water. He admitted that there are occasional water quality problems resulting from periods of low pressure that allow dirt to enter the pipes. But the sediment is quickly flushed from the system when water pressure is restored, he said.