Factors associated with operational sustainability of rural water supplies in Cambodia
Improving the sustainability of rural water supplies in low- and middle-income countries will be critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal target of safe drinking water for all. This investigation assessed the factors associated with rural water supply operation and maintenance outcomes in rural Cambodia, with a particular focus on the influence of handpump technology and ownership arrangements. The analysis drew on a comprehensive dataset of water points in Chum Kiri district and examined three operational outcomes: functionality, reliability and repairability. Results show that handpump type, ownership, perceptions of water quality, handpump age and distance to the provincial capital were all significant predictors of operational outcomes. The odds of a handpump being functional were significantly higher when the handpump was privately owned, was located closer to the provincial capital, was installed more recently, and supplied water perceived to be of good quality. Less frequent breakdowns were significantly associated with Afridev handpumps and water perceived to be of good quality. If a breakdown occurred, the odds of a repair being carried out were significantly higher when the handpump was a VN6 suction pump, was privately owned, was located closer to the provincial capital, and the water was perceived to be of good quality. The results indicate that technology, ownership, water quality and geography all contribute to the operational performance of rural water supplies, and that effective maintenance systems are a prerequisite for sustainability.