Understanding Consumers and the Market for Household Water Treatment Products in Cambodia

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About 60 percent of people in Cambodia do not have access to a safe water source.1 Even more may lack consistent access to microbiologically safe water at the point of use. Water-related diseases are a major public health issue. The 2005 Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey found that 20 percent of children under age five had experienced diarrhea in the preceding two weeks.2

Surface water in Cambodia is plentiful but often of poor quality, especially in rural areas, due in part to pollution from human and animal activities. Some groundwater sources contain high levels of naturally occurring arsenic and other chemical contaminants.3 The principal alternatives to arsenic-contaminated deep wells are surface water and shallow groundwater, both of which are often of poor microbiological quality, and rainwater, which is liable to be contaminated during storage.4