Because of a lack of clean, safe drinking water in Cambodia, Japan has committed $6.27 million to provide water wells to 165 sites in the suburbs of Phnom Penh.
Speaking at a ceremony marking the hand-over of the well-construction equipment Monday, Minister of Rural Development Ly Thuch said 74 percent of Cambodians lack access to clean water for daily use. “Water is life, so providing a clean water supply to the people is very important,” he said.
The wells, which are pumped by hand, will be installed in 60 villages in Dangkao, Russei Keo and Meanchey districts and will provide safe, clean water to some 30,000 residents, said Japanese Ambassador Gotaro Ogawa.
The pumps, he said, will be built by a Japanese contractor with participation from community members.
The remaining hardware will be delivered in the near future, Ogawa said. Documents related to the project’s second phase will be signed on June 25, he added.
The grant project will be executed by the ministry’s Department of Rural Water Supply and the Japanese government, department Director Mao Saray said. Ninety-one “deep tube wells” and 10 iron-removal devices will be delivered in the first phase of the project and are scheduled to be in operation by March, Mao Saray said.
Throughout the construction process, department staff will be trained in construction and operation skills, so that they may be in charge of maintenance of the wells in the future, Mao Saray said.
After completion, the wells will be operated and maintained by villagers, Ogawa said.
“I would like to ask all of the village people to actively participate from the beginning of the project and continue to work with the spirit of ownership so that in the near future those people would be able to operate and maintain the well facilities,” Ogawa added.
“In this sense, this is not a Japanese project, but it is a Cambodian project. Or at least a Cambodia-Japan cooperative project,” Ogawa said.