Firm Says It May Turn Taps Off in Poipet Homes

Residents of Banteay Meanchey province’s Poipet City have been warned to brace themselves for a major water shortage over the next two weeks as the company contracted to supply the border town’s clean water scrambles to build a new reservoir amid a localized drought.

Anco Water Supply has been providing Poipet’s citizens with water from a lake in Nimit commune since 2010, and on Monday issued a statement informing them that their supply of clean water would be reduced in the coming weeks, and possibly shut off altogether.

An excavator moves dirt from a new reservoir being dug by the Anco Water Supply company in Poipet City on Tuesday. (Suom Chankea)
An excavator moves dirt from a new reservoir being dug by the Anco Water Supply company in Poipet City on Tuesday. (Suom Chankea)

“We announced yesterday that we would reduce the water supply for two weeks while we finish digging a [new] reservoir,” Koeun Saroeuth, Anco’s technical director, said Tuesday. “It has not been raining, so we cannot supply as usual.”

He said that if demand for clean water over the coming fortnight exceeded the available supply, apartments and other households would be first to have their taps turned off.

“We need to supply big businesses in the city before the normal people,” he said.

Mr. Saroeuth said he was informed by the provincial water resources department that rainfall was imminent, and that he expected the new reservoir—which will cover about 60 hectares—will be full shortly after its construction is complete.

Poipet governor Ngor Mengchruon said that Anco was not to blame for the shortage, as it was the result of an abnormal lack of rainfall.

“We cannot blame the company because we see now that [the drought] is caused by nature,” he said.

Mr. Mengchruon added that Anco had also instructed residents to dig their own wells.

Chhin Sophal, 45, a tuk-tuk driver in Poipet, said he would not be able to dig his own well, and would have to resort to buying bottled water if his water supply was shut off.

“We will buy the water from private business if the company stops supplying water to us,” he said.

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