Water Rates To Double For Some

Water rates will be rising for Phnom Penh residents as of Jan 1, municipal water supply officials said Wednesday.

The rates will double for the smallest users, while heavier users will see more gradual increases.

Ek Soun Chan, director of the municipal water supply, said the rate increases are necessary so the city can meet its payments on more than $36 million in loans from the Asian Development Bank and World Bank to upgrade the water supply.

Under the old rate structure, resi­dential customers who used up to 15 cubic meters of water per month paid 300 riel ($0.07) per cubic meter.

Under the new structure, water officials have split that low-use group into two categories. Those who use up to 7 cubic me­ters per month will now pay 550 riel ($0.14) per cubic meter. Those who use be­tween 8 cubic meters and 15 cubic meters will pay 770 riel ($0.20) per cubic meter.

Prices will rise according to how much water a customer uses, Ek Soun Chan said.

Average customers who use between 16 cubic meters to 50 cubic meters will see their rates increase from 620 riel ($0.16) per cubic meter to 1,010 riel ($0.26). Those using more than 50 cubic meters will pay 1279 riel (33 cents) per cubic meter.

Businesses and industries who use up to 100 cubic meters monthly will pay 950 riel (24 cents), while those who use between 101-200 cubic meters will pay 1150 riel (29 cents); between 201-500 cubic meters, 1,350 riel (35 cents); and more than 500 cubic meters, 1,450 riel (37 cents).

Ek Soun Chan said a water authority survey found that river water at the city’s outskirts sells for between 1500-2500 riel (38-64 cents) per cubic meter.

“All of those prices are higher than our new prices,” he said.

He further noted the city will spend $15 million by 2005 to improve water services.

Prime Minister Hun Sen rejected a water rate hike in 1997, blaming international lending institutions for using a “heavy stick” to force an increase that he said would hurt average Cambodians.

But with the rise of electricity rates in 1998, municipal officials said an increase in the water rate was inevitable.



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