By 2030, Sustainable Development Goal 6 aims to ensure universal access to safe drinking water. The Royal Government of Cambodia has, thus, made a significant progress in improving the access to safe water supply in rural areas. However, results show only 26.9% of all poor households in a license area were connected when supported by the Groupe de Recherches et d'Echanges Technologique (GRET) programs compared to 45.6% of all households; nearly half of all poor households are located greater than 70 m or are of unknown location; and 56% of known households are within than 3 km. Logistic regression shows a negative relationship between household connections and increasing distance by 10 m, incremental water tariffs by 0.10 USD, and subsidized connection fees by 10 USD when compared to connections, with odds of connection decreasing in all cases (−23, −8.6, and −1%, respectively). Finally, 37% of unconnected households have never heard of the subsidy programs, indicating insufficient marketing programs. Recommendations include updating subsidies to cover all costs necessary for households to connect within 50 m of the distribution lines (an extra pipe, transaction fees, etc.); ensuring flat-rate connection fees paid by all poor households including all costs remaining 40 USD or less; subsidizing pipe extensions to reach unserved areas while maintaining fair tariffs for poor households and cost recoverability for piped water suppliers; shortening marketing and awareness programs to 3 months or less, with involvement from more local stakeholders; and adding poor household connection requirements to investment program requirements.

  • Sustainable development goals regarding the safe water supply.

  • New solutions to reach poor households with clean water.

  • Identification of innovative subsidies to reach poor households.

Graphical Abstract

Graphical Abstract
Graphical Abstract
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