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Water use

In 2006, total water withdrawal was about 2.184 km3, of which 2.053 km3 (94 percent) for agriculture, 0.98 km3 (4.5 percent) for municipalities and 0.33 km3 (1.5 percent) for industries (Table 3 and Figure 1).

The consumption of water in the Mekong Delta for aquaculture is approximately 6 000 m3/ha per month (WEPA, 2010).

Most manufacturing and warehouses in Phnom Penh are located along the embankment of the Tonle Sap river north or the Bassac river south of the city, with mixed commercial and residential areas. Such locations allow direct access to river transport and high consumption of water. The industrial sector’s water requirements are based upon the size of the factory. An estimate of water use volume for different sizes and types of factories are as follows (WEPA, 2010):

  • major industry: 1 000–20 000 m3/day (paper making, chemical manufacture, iron and steel production, oil refining, etc.);
  • large-scale industry: 100–500 m3/day (food processing, vegetable washing, drinks bottling, ice making, chemical products, etc.); and
  • medium- and small-scale industry: 50 m3/day.

Most provinces include significant areas where groundwater is used as the main source of domestic water supply. As of 2001, withdrawal of groundwater for domestic and drinking water supply was approximately 2 147 m3/day (WEPA, 2010).

Groundwater is being exploited at ever-increasing rates, particularly by shallow tubewells for community and household water supply, as well as for irrigation. There are at least 25 000 community water supply tubewells and large diameter motorized tubewells for irrigation. About 2 000 manually operated shallow wells are being installed annually. Besides the use of groundwater resources for domestic consumption and livestock watering, it is also being used widely in the industrial sector. Data and information relevant to the use of groundwater and its quality is not available. Informal estimations by concerned stakeholders, however, show that if the agricultural and industrial sectors continue to extract groundwater to meet water demands without being charged, and responsible institutions do not exert regular control over this sector, there may be adverse effects from over-extraction (WEPA, 2010).


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