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Australian utility to help deliver safe water in Cambodia

For the 70% of Cambodians who live in rural areas, access to clean, piped water can be difficult to come by. A new partnership hopes to change this by sharing Australian knowledge with local operators.

The Cambodia-Australia Water Utility Improvement Program (WUIP), launched this week by the Australian Ambassador to Cambodia Angela Corcoran, will support Cambodian water professionals to improve service delivery across the country.

It will connect Melbourne-based South East Water with three private Cambodian water utilities through a two-year knowledge sharing program, providing access to technology and management practices used in Australia. 

The WUIP is part of the Australian Government’s ‘Investing in Infrastructure’ program, which is helping extend essential water infrastructure to 1 million Cambodians.

An Australian delegation visited water utilities in Cambodia to launch the program.

“This program will create long-term relationships and knowledge exchange between Cambodian and Australian institutions,” Corcoran said.

“This is part of our commitment to supporting Cambodia to develop the quality infrastructure and services it needs to transition to a more resilient, inclusive and prosperous country.”

The program will be facilitated by the Australian Water Association (AWA) and the Cambodian Water Supply Association (CWA).

AWA CEO Jonathan McKeown said it follows the success of similar programs in Vietnam and Indonesia.

“Through our partnership, the Australian and Cambodian water sectors will work together to provide water solutions by sharing innovations and expertise,” McKeown said.

The Water Utility Improvement Program will connect South East Water with three private Cambodian utilities.

CWA Executive Director Hor Khykeng said the project would provide new opportunities for the local water sector.

"As a representative of water operators in Cambodia, CWA and its members are proud to partner with AWA and South East Water, and are excited to work with the Australian water sector to improve water supply service delivery across Cambodia through the exchange of knowledge, new technologies and expertise,” he said.

The WUIP will involve the exchange of staff between South East Water and the Cambodian utilities, which South East Water General Manager – Customer Service Delivery Terry Schubach said would support improvements in the management of water assets, customer engagement and water quality.

“South East Water is delighted to be part of the WUIP,” Schubach said.

“We look forward to sharing our knowledge in supporting the Cambodian water utility sector to improve their water services.” 

The AWA and CWA are coordinating an Australian delegation to the Cambodian Water Conference and Exhibition in October, which will create more opportunities for collaboration.

To learn more about the Australian Water Association's international work and Water Utility Improvement Programs, click here.