Private water supply operators (PWSOs) play an important role in extending piped water services in small cities in Cambodia. However, the connection rates to PWSOs are highly varied. Therefore, this study aimed to find the reasons for the low connection rates of PWSOs and to propose ways to increase the connection rates. The three PWSOs selected for this study supply water continuously, with sufficiently high pressure and good water quality except for the low concentration of residual chlorine, while the per capita supply volume varies significantly. Households with alternative water sources, namely rainwater and well water, consume less piped water than those without alternative water sources. Scattered service areas far away from water treatment plants had coverage rates that were lower than in compact service areas. The present connection costs and water tariffs are higher than those that non-connected households are willing to pay, though they pay high costs for bottled water. Due to the high variation in household income, connection fees and water tariffs are a financial burden for low-income households. Because the operating rates of the PWSOs are 21–47%, it is advised that PWSOs reduce their connection fees and water tariffs to obtain more connected households in their service areas.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.