By Chakriya Khiev


Cambodia has made remarkable progress in expanding piped water supply into homes across Cambodia. Rural coverage increased from 21% to 47% between 2015 and 2022. 


However, Cambodia is determined to achieve universal access to clean water supply by 2030. To do this, the Royal Governmetn of Cambodia must invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the sector. How can they mobilise the resources to make this goal a reality?  


That’s where the Water Development Fund (WDF) comes in.


The Fund brings together the public and private sector, and development partners to accelerate access to clean, piped water supply and water infrastructure development in Cambodia. It will help coordinate the sector, avoid duplication and use innovative financing approaches such as Viability Gap Financing (VGF).


This week, we supported a consultation workshop to discuss the Fund’s design and framework. We were joined by over 40 representatives from the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation (MISTI), Ministry of Rural Development (MRD), Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology (MOWRAM), Australian Embassy, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, JICA, UNICEF, KfW, and the Cambodian Water Supply Association.


“When there is access to clean water; there is development,” said H.E Oum Sotha, Secretary of State of MISTI. “The law on Clean Water Management and WDF initiation will help people to access better quality, safety, sustainable and affordable water supply that can inclusively improve their health and livelihoods.” 


The WDF consultation workshop follows the passing of the Law on Clean Water Management earlier last month. The Law effectively puts the WDF into action, giving it authority to promote and support effective and sustainable maintenance, improvement, and development of clean water supply in Cambodia.


Australia’s past water development program, Investing in Infrastructure (3i), used the VGF model to co-finance investment with private water operators. This hugely successful initiative connected more than one million rural Cambodians to clean, safe water piped into their homes for the first time.


Australia is committed to continuing our support to the Cambodian government in achieving its goal of providing universal access to safe, clean and secure water to all Cambodians, especially women, people with disabilities, and the vulnerable.


Read more about CAPRED’s water infrastructure projects in Cambodia