Water Supply of Phnom Penh: An Example of Good Governance

During the 1980s, after years of centralized management and a culture of inefficiency and corruption, the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA) was dysfunctional. Unaccounted for water routinely surpassed 70%. During the 15-year timeframe between 1993 and 2008, it experienced a metamorphosis; with enlightened management and dedicated and competent staff, the Authority has been completely turned around. Its annual water production increased by 437%, the distribution network by 557%, pressure of the system by 1260%, and its customer base by 662%. Unaccounted for water was reduced from 72% to 6.19%. Its profit increased consistently as has the amount of taxes paid to the Cambodian Government. This paper is a summary of an independent evaluation that examines how this remarkable transformation has been achieved.

By Asit K. Biswas and Cecilia Tortajada, 2010. Article published in International Journal of Water Resources Development, Volume 26, Issue 2, pages 157-172. DOI: 10.1080/07900621003768859

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