PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA (1 October 2019) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved $49 million in financing to help the Government of Cambodia achieve its 2025 goal of providing universal access to improved water supply and sanitation services in the country’s rural areas.

The Third Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Services Sector Development Program will benefit more than 400,000 people by constructing or rehabilitating 2,500 rural water facilities in at least 400 villages across 10 Cambodian provinces. It will also support the construction of new toilets for individual households and construct public latrines at schools and health centers, as well as conducting hygiene and sanitation awareness campaigns.

“Access to basic services, such as reliable water supply and sanitation services, is a basic human right and a vital factor for inclusive and sustainable development in any country,” said ADB Urban Development Specialist for Southeast Asia Ms. Siti Hasanah. “ADB supports the Government of Cambodia’s goal of providing universal access to reliable water supply and sanitation services for all Cambodians in the next 5 years, especially those living in rural areas, along with government efforts to raise hygiene awareness.”

Sustainable and reliable water supply and sanitation services remain scarce in Cambodia’s rural areas, where about 77% of the country’s total population of 16.4 million live. In 2017, while 73% of rural households had access to improved water supply, only 11% of those had piped water supply. Meanwhile, 56% of rural residents had access to improved sanitation, and about 41% of rural residents still practice open defecation, which can cause diarrhea and other public health problems.

ADB is the largest contributor to infrastructure development in Cambodia’s water supply and sanitation sector, providing about 25% of total external assistance for the country’s water supply and sanitation services, including both urban and rural areas. Since 2005, 1 million people have benefited from improved access to water supply and 500,000 people from better sanitation services under three ADB-supported water supply and sanitation services projects in Tonle Sap Lake.

The newly approved ADB Sector Development Program includes a $15 million policy-based loan, a $29.61 million project loan, and a $4.39 million grant from the Asian Development Fund. The policy-based loan will provide policy support to improve rural water supply and sanitation planning systems, along with service delivery, asset inventory and management systems, and private sector involvement.

ADB will also administer a $1 million grant from the High-Level Technology Fund (HLTF) financed by the Government of Japan, which will help pilot a project to install air-to-water generation units in seven locations with limited access to safe drinking water, particularly during dry seasons.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

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