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Area: 5888268 km2
Brazil; Peru; Suriname; France; Colombia; Guyana; Bolivia; Venezuela; Ecuador
Santa Cruz; Manaus; La Paz
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2.63 out of 5
WWF Country Risk Score
107 out of 248 Countries
WWF Country Rank
Total Organizations: 8
Total Projects: 8
Priority SDGs: Increase Access to Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (SDG 6.1 & 6.2)
Water Quality (SDG 6.3)
Water Use Efficiency (SDG 6.4)
Integrated Water Resource Management (SDG 6.5)
Protect and Restore Ecosystems (SDG 6.6)
International Cooperation and Capacity Building (SDG 6.a)
Stakeholder Participation (SDG 6.b)
Water-Related Disaster Management (SDG 11.5)
Climate Resilience and Adaptation (SDG 13.1)
Priority Regions: --
Priority Industries: Apparel
Biotech, health care & pharma
Food, beverage & agriculture
Fossil fuels
Power generation
Organization Types:
NGO / Civil Society
Coalition / Consortium
International Organization
Multi-stakeholder Organization
Profile Completion: 55%

Water-Related Challenge Costs

Total annual estimated cost to address all water-related challenges: $1,156,975,888.00

Share of total annual estimated cost to address each individual challenge (2015 $USD):

  • Access to Drinking Water: $124,033,630.00 - [11%]
  • Access to Sanitation: $184,264,535.00 - [16%]
  • Industrial Pollution: $28,219,438.00 - [2%]
  • Agricultural Pollution: $336,575,579.00 - [29%]
  • Water Scarcity: $291,053,392.00 - [25%]
  • Water Management: $192,829,315.00 - [17%]

For more about this data, see information on WRI’s Achieving Abundance dataset here.

Water Challenges

As reported by organizations on the Hub.

No challenges found.

Country Overview

1.1.1.WATER RESOURCES Cambodia has considerable water resource potential, with abundant surface water and aquifers and a high level of seasonal rainfall. However, this potential has not yet been developed for agriculture, industrial or household use. In spite of the abundance of water sources, many areas in the central plains and plateaus lack water in the dry season and are therefore dependent on unreliable rainfall patterns. Many rivers, streams, lakes, and their tributaries provide tremendous water resources for development. These water sources are divided into three systems: the Mekong River System; the Tonle Sap River System; and the river system flowing into the Gulf of Thailand. About 86% of Cambodia’s territory (156,000km2) is included in the Mekong river basin, the remaining 14% draining directly towards the Gulf of Thailand. The Mekong river and Lake Tonle Sap are connected by the Tonle Sap river, which twice a year reverses its direction of flow. From July to October, when the level of the Mekong is high, water flows into the Tonle Sap river, which fills Lake Tonle Sap, thereby increasing the size of the lake from 2,600km2 to about 10,500km2 at its maximum. The storage capacity of Lake Tonle Sap is estimated at 72km3. In November, when the level of the Mekong decreases, the Tonle Sap river reverses its flow, and water flows from Lake Tonle Sap to the Mekong river and thence to the Mekong Delta. The average annual discharge of the Mekong entering Cambodia is estimated to be close to the discharge at Paksé (324.45km3/year) in Lao PDR, some 120 km upstream from the border with Cambodia. Other inflows to the Mekong-Tonle Sap system from outside the country amount to 29.9km3 from Viet Nam and 1.2km3 from Thailand. On average, 471.4km3/year flows out of the country in the Mekong channels and tributaries to Viet Nam. The internal renewable surface water resource is estimated to be at 115.9km3. This figure does not include the unknown discharge of small rivers to the Gulf of Thailand and is thus probably an underestimate. Groundwater resources are estimated at 17.6km3, most of which is drained by the rivers and cannot be considered as additional water resources. The total renewable water resources of Cambodia are therefore estimated at 476.110km3/year.

1.1.2.WATER USE In 2006, total water withdrawal was about 2.184 km3, of which 2.053 km3 (94%) for agriculture, 0.98 km3 (4.5%) for municipalities and 0.33 km3 (1.5%) for industries. 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. 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 everincreasing rates, particularly by shallow tubewells for community and household water supply, as well as for irrigation. 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. The capacity of the existing dams is very low and has not been estimated. Only one small dam (Ochum, in the northeastern province of Ratanakiri) is used as a hydropower station, with an installed capacity of 1MW. The Kirirom power plant, which was installed in 1968 in Kompong Speu province with a capacity of 10MW, has not been in operation since 1970 due to war damage. A number of dams with high storage capacity are planned for the near future.

1.2.WATER QUALITY, ECOSYSTEMS AND HUMAN HEALTH The quality of groundwater is generally satisfactory, although high iron concentrations and increased salinity levels have been encountered in some provinces (Svay Rieng, Prey Veng and Takeo). Cambodia’s major environmental problems are: illegal logging activities throughout the country and strip mining for gems in the western region along the border with Thailand, which have resulted in habitat loss and declining biodiversity (in particular, destruction of mangrove swamps, which threatens natural fisheries); soil erosion; a lack of access to potable water in rural areas; declining fish stocks as a result of illegal fishing and overfishing. In the recent past, sedimentation of Lake Tonle Sap has given cause for concern. This concern is mainly due to the Mekong silt load, and to deforestation in the upper reaches of the Tonle Sap watershed. In the absence of reliable data on hydrology and sediments in this area, many scenarios have been developed. The most pessimistic forecast a drying-up of the lake within ten years, while other studies estimate that the lake would take 600 years to dry up. All these estimates reveal a need for reliable hydrological data. What is agreed by all concerned is the negative effect of sedimentation on the environment, particularly on fish. The total proportion of the population with access to water supply was estimated at 19% in 1992. At that time, it was estimated that only 7,000 wells had been constructed (by international organizations) out of the 30,000 needed. Precise comprehensive data on the provision of environmental sanitation are not available. Access to sanitation is limited to an estimated 1.24 million people (13% of the population): about 53%of the urban population (mostly in Phnom Penh) Country Overview - Cambodia and 6% of the rural population. A 1995 survey assessed the quality of water supply, wastewater and sanitation in the main towns of Cambodia. Most of the systems combined sewage and drainage water, and had not been maintained over the previous two decades. As a result, they were in a poor condition and not functioning properly. Drainage water often mixes with drinking water, with obvious health implications; floods are frequent during the rainy season as the sewers clog rapidly. Two of the most common water-related diseases linked to the development of irrigation are malaria and schistosomiasis.

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Organizations in Cambodia

Improving the water, sanitation, and hygiene services, and recycle the wastes for food security and nutrition. Learn More

Desolenator is a transformative approach to water provisioning: Our world-first solar thermal desalination solution harnesses 4x more solar energy, to turn seawater or brackish water into high quality, pure water with zero harm to the planet. Protecting critical business assets … Learn More

Developing, Managing and Operating Cambodia's Flagship Food Security Special Economic Zone Learn More

HYDROC is an association of independent consultants, -scientists and -engineers, providing water-related services through a network of national and international experts. Our concept uses the synergies of our combined expertise for the successful implementation of a variety of projects. Our … Learn More

Support and develop Pakistan as a central hub for developing a sustainable supply chain ecosystem with Halal standards. Making Pakistan a well-known Halal international hub that aligning United Nation’s 17 sustainable goals and promotes WAQF from Halal culture to contribute … Learn More

Planet Water Foundation is a US based, non-profit organization focused on bringing clean water to the world's most disadvantaged communities through the installation of community-based water filtration systems and the deployment of hygiene education programs. Planet Water projects are focused … Learn More

Water for Cambodia builds and installs bio sand water filters, and household units that produce clean drinking water directly from contaminated sources. These cost-effective filters are built by our staff in Cambodia using local materials. Since 2006 we have installed … Learn More

Our Vision is widespread implementation of sustainable chemistry, driving innovations and best practices in textile, apparel and footwear industries to protect consumers, workers and the environment. Our Mission is to enable brands and retailers in the textile, apparel, and footwear … Learn More

Projects in Cambodia

Since 2016 the Toilet Board Coalition’s accelerator program has been supporting entrepreneurs with bespoke mentorship, partnership and the visibility to scale their sanitation economy businesses. More than toilets alone, we look for commercially viable businesses across the sanitation economies – … Learn More

This project addresses the problem of safe drinking water by constructing and disseminating ceramic water purifiers (CWP) to Cambodian households, particularly in rural areas. CWPs are point-of-use treatment systems which remove microbes from contaminated water. They are manufactured locally and … Learn More

WaterAid Cambodia has partnered with provincial and rural governments in Kampong Chhnang to support awareness raising campaigns in rural communities of the Chul Kiri district. WaterAid is contributing communications materials and vehicles with loudspeakers. Learn More

We completed in 2019 a highly successful, four-year grant programme in collaboration with Water.org to expand access to safe water and sanitation services for those living in poverty across Bangladesh and Cambodia. The programme exceeded all of its targets and … Learn More

In Cambodia, nearly two million rural households do not have access to safe, potable water. While boiling water helps reduce exposure to water-borne diseases, the indoor air pollution created by wood fires causes serious respiratory and heart problems, especially for … Learn More

In 2011, the CEO Water Mandate and UNEP worked with Levi, Nike, H&amp;M, and Nautica on a collective action project intended to improve corporate water management among apparel companies in Cambodia and Vietnam.The project’s overarching goal was to improve water … Learn More

WaterAid�s sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene programme, or SusWASH, is a five-year initiative aimed at addressing the long-term challenges of service sustainability and behaviour sustainability, as well as ensuring WASH services can be provided to all groups in society. The … Learn More

Kâmpóng Cham, Prey Vêng, Kâmpóng Thum, Siemréab, Tbong Khmum, Bântéay Méanchey, Kândal, Batdâmbâng, Kâmpóng Speu, Takêv, Kâmpóng Chhnang, Pouthisat, Svay Rieng, Preah Vihéar, Kâmpôt, Otar Mean Chey, Krâchéh, Phnom Penh, Rôt Reach up to 200,000 people per year with lasting … Learn More

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