Hun Sen Says Water, Power Shortages to Stay

Prime Minister Hun Sen said Tuesday that the rapid growth of Phnom Penh’s population coupled with the rampant construction of new property projects means that there would always be a shortage of water and electricity supplies in the capital.

Speaking to a crowd of thousands who had gathered in Meanchey district’s Niroth commune for the inauguration of a new $90 million water treatment plant, Mr. Hun Sen said that despite committing to new projects such as this one, growth is overtaking the government’s ability to meet its citizens’ basic needs.

“There will never be enough water or electricity. So from now on, we must be prepared because there are many new satellite cities being built, and more houses in the city besides these, and demand is increasing and will continue to increase,” Mr. Hun Sen said.

Mr. Hun Sen said that since 2004, the state-owned Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority has added some 14,000 customers annually through its 2,000 km of pipes and that currently, 85 percent of Phnom Penh’s more than 2 million residents were connected to the water supply.

Mr. Hun Sen’s comments came just two weeks after a massive power outage in Vietnam knocked out electricity and water across Phnom Penh for more than six hours.

The $90 million project, funded by loans from the Japan International Cooperation Agency and Agence Francaise de Developpement, both government aid arms, aims at providing clean water to those in Phnom Penh still without access to piped water, as well as households in Kandal province’s Takhmao City.

According to new data from the Asian Development Bank, demand for energy in Cambodia up to 2035 will increase far quicker than the rate at which the country can create its own energy supply.

© 2013, The Cambodia Daily. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in print, electronically, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written permission.