2010

Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority

Historically, the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, thrived by the rivers of Tonle Sap and the Mekong.  However, decades of conflicts left the water supply system running low until the 1990s. In 1993 Mr. Ek Sonn Chan was appointed as General Director of the city’s Water Supply Authority (PPWSA). Together with his team, he managed to refurbish the whole supply system, introduce cost-effective billing and payment collection methods, as well as world class management to provide water to almost all of the city’s residents.

In 1998, the PPWSA provided clean drinking water to all households in the city area. Water losses due to leakages in pipes and pumps declined from 72 per cent in 1993 to 6 per cent by 2008, which is very low in an international comparison. Meanwhile, the bill collection ratio reached over 98 percent – which improved the PPWSA’s costs-recovery. Today, the authority meets international standards as it provides leading edge services to its customers.

The PPWSA was supported by international donors in its efforts to reach where it is today. However, it managed to become entirely self-sustainable as it benchmarked itself against the best operators in both developing and developed nations. PPWSA’s work has contributed to visible improvements in public health and a reduction of constraints to industrial, social and economic developments in Cambodia’s capital.

“The PPWSA has a strong commitment to social and environmental responsibility. It has shown the developing world as a whole that large cities can expect continuous access to clean water. It stands as a role model for those committed to improving their business practices and increasing their level of service to customers. The PPWSA has now taken on the challenge to improve Phnom Penh’s sanitation system, and is also scheduled for an initial public offering on Cambodia’s new stock exchange later this year,” said the Jury in its citation.

Mr. Ek Sonn Chan is proud of the PPWSA’s achievement. “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.

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