Water Supply Begins to Return to Sihanoukville

Anco Water Supply, a private company that is supplying Sihanoukville with access to fresh water, has alleviated a water shortage that began when a state-owned reservoir dried up more than a week ago.

Preah Sihanouk provincial governor Sbuon Sarath said that running water had been restored to 95 percent of homes and businesses in Sihanoukville, but people living at higher altitudes still do not have access to water because the necessary pipe networks have yet to be built from a waterfall now supplying most of the city with water.

“We have enough water for 95 percent of people and need another 5 percent for the area on the hill,” he said, referring to a heavily populated area in the center of Sihanoukville where four businesses burned down earlier this month after firefighters were unable to access water.

In a notice sent to customers on March 20, the provincial department of the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy, which oversees the water supply authority, made an appeal for people to tap into their own water sources, as Prek Tup Lake was almost completely dry.

Prek Tup Lake dried out after provincial officials at state-owned power supplier Electricite du Cambodge decided to stem the flow of electricity to a pumping station operated by Anco Water Supply at Kbal Chhay waterfall and redirect that power to households and businesses.

Ngy Sun, the manager of Anco Water Supply, complained last week that the company could not afford the diesel necessary to operate generators at Kbal Chhay and meet the demand of Sihanoukville residents. However, he said Monday that new pipe networks and a new generator have allowed the company to increase its pumping.

“We updated our system and last week we added two additional lines to our water supply system, as well as a new generator. Now we have no problem,” he said.

Mr. Sun declined to comment on who was paying for the increased fuel usage that he previously said would be necessary for Anco Water Supply to keep up with demand.

The price of water being delivered by trucks to residents who are still without water has also dropped sharply, according to Preah Sihanouk tourism police chief Man Tou. After reports last week that people were paying more than $50 for 2,000 liters of water, the price is now back down to about $10, he said.

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