Cambodian water authority wins Stockholm Industry Water Award

June 2, 2010
STOCKHOLM, Sweden, June 2, 2010 -- Asian water authority recognised for beating the odds and transforming water supply network after years of conflict had left it running low...
STOCKHOLM, Sweden, June 2, 2010 -- The Cambodian Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA), under the leadership of General Director Ek Sonn Chan, has been named the winner of the Stockholm Industry Water Award 2010 in recognition of its world class performance in water supply and self-sufficiency.

PPWSA and Chan were awarded for helping to refurbish the authority's supply system, introduce cost-effective billing and payment collection methods, as well as helping to provide water to almost all of the city's residents.

Prior to this work starting in 1993, decades of conflict left the water supply system running low up until the 1990s.

By 1998, the PPWSA had provided clean drinking water to all households in the city area and by 2008, its customer base had increased nine fold, which led to higher profitability, according to the Stockholm International Water Institute. Water losses due to leakages in pipes and pumps declined from 72% in 1993 to 6% by 2008.

The International Award Jury said in its citation: “The PPWSA has successfully fought corruption and shown this can be achieved in a developing country on a large-scale basis using simple but effective management techniques that are based on well-accepted business principles and strategies.

"As a self-sufficient company, operating without subsidies from the state, PPWSA today provides 24-hour service and 90% coverage to a city of 1.3 million and fully recovers its costs as it continues to develop both its infrastructure and management.”

Chan said: “Our future goals pave a challenging road ahead, as we aim to expand water provision at the same rates and standards to Phnom Penh’s suburban areas and surrounding regions. We’re working on reducing water loss from current 5.9% to 4% by 2020, which would place us in the same league as Singapore and Tokyo."

The announcement followed the Stockholm Water Prize Laureate, Dr Rita Colwell, calling for fairer distribution of water funding (see Water & Wastewater International story).

The Jury also said that the PPWSA has shown the developing world as a whole that large cities can expect "continuous access to clean water".

Chan added: “We provided an important role model for the development of our nation, Cambodia, which helped improve the country’s image internationally after decades of strife and conflict. Developing nations must believe in their own people’s capabilities to achieve their own goals,” he said.

The PPWSA will receive the award during the World Water Week in Stockholm 2010, September 5-11.