Getting Clean Water to Cambodia

Today on NPR:

In the 1990s, he accompanied teams of workers as they went around the city trying to convince ordinary Cambodians that installing a water meter and paying for water meant they would save money and be healthier.

World water experts have nothing but good to say about him and the PPWSA. Per-Arne Malmqvist, a water expert at the Stockholm International Water Institute in Sweden, says they have succeeded in doing something that even cities in the Western world have not succeeded in.

At one point, a Cambodian general who objected to the scheme held a gun to Chan’s head, refusing to pay. But with the help of politicians who supported his scheme, Chan won over all levels of the city.

“It’s not only about technicalities — constructing pipelines and water works — it’s also the management of the system, fighting corruption and having people to pay for the water which, of course, is very important.”

Tyler Cowen, writing in 2008, on the water problems of the Third World:

The solution for the poorer parts of the Third World is deregulation of the market for piped water, combined with the enforcement of property rights. Yes, I’m saying that Third World governments should consider letting private companies sell water at any price they want. This includes giving them the right to cut off people who don’t–or can’t–pay their bills.