In one year’s time, there will no longer be private enterprises selling water in the capital, with a National Water Act likely to be approved this year to maintain transparency of pricing in the industry, according to the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA).

PPWSA director-general Long Naro made the remarks at a June 9 press conference, called to update the clean water supply in the capital, at the Council of Ministers.

Citing Prime Minister Hun Sen, he said water prices should be fixed at 700 riel ($0.17) per cubic metre for garment workers and students, and 1,350 riel to the general public.

Naro said that in Phnom Penh, many people were engaged in selling water to the public, mostly in the suburbs and at factories.

“A journalist discovered that some water sellers were not charging reasonable prices. They could be excused for charging 700-800 riel per unit, but they were charging up to 2,500 riel. We are working hard to get the new water treatment facilities online. In one year, there will be no more water sellers – we will have enough to use,” he said.

He said the retailers said they were charging such high prices because of the capital they had invested in pumps and metres, and to pay plumbers.

“Now we have received the approval of the government to push ahead with our plans to make sure we can provide clean water to all residents of the capital. We must act in accordance with the prime minister’s remarks. We were very busy due to the recent elections, but the elections are now over. We will begin in the area around Veng Sreng Street,” he said.

Naro added that the PPWSA had begun to prepare for better regulated water sales in all areas of the capital by studying the existing sellers. The PPWSA would prepare a clean supply and sell it for 700-800 riel per cubic metre. The work would begin in earnest throughout June, and would be carried out in collaboration with commune authorities so that the whole process would be transparent.

Naro said the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation had worked hard to draft the National Water Act, likely to be approved soon.

“The ministry was forced to create this act so that people will not be able to take advantage of people by gouging prices or selling low quality water. Quality must meet the standards set by the law. Once it is approved, we will carry out inspection and will revoke the license to sell of those who are in breach,” he said.