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Cambodia begins construction of country's largest water treatment plant

  • Cambodia begins construction of country's largest water treatment plant

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European Investment Bank
The EIB is the European Union's bank. We are the only bank owned by and representing the interests of the European Union Member States. We work closely with other EU institutions to implement EU policy.

Construction works on Cambodia's largest water treatment plant were launched in the presence of Prime Minister Hun Sen. Bakheng Water Production Facilities will increase water production capacity in Phnom Penh by 65%, from 600 000 m3/day currently to around 1 000 000 m3/day in 2024.

The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA) has been facing a rapidly increasing water demand since the early 2010s, spurred by intense construction activities and population growth. After doubling its water production capacity between 2012 and 2017, PPWSA now aims at maintaining its coverage of water demand and expand its service area to 100% of the city by 2025, with the joint support of the Agence française de développement (AFD), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Union (EU).

The Bakheng Water Supply Project is the major infrastructure project defined in PPWSA’s 2016-2030 Master Plan. The total production capacity of the facilities will be 390,000 m3/day. The total production capacity of the facilities will be 390 000 m3/day, to be built in two phases. The first phase of 195 000m3/day will put in operation in the first quarter of 2023, and the full capacity will be reached one year later after completion of phase 2. In addition, PPWSA will expand the transmission network by 130 km and the distribution network by 1,600 km throughout the city. It will be able to serve additional 100 000 domestic connections and 25 000 commercial connections and to improve the service quality for all citizens.

The facilities will consist of an intake pumping station at the upper Mekong River bank, a water treatment plant and a transmission main of 2-meters diameter pipeline laying along the Win-Win boulevard then crossing Tonlé Sap River by micro-tunneling. Just as the other existing PPWSA plants, the Bakheng plant will feature a high level of technology including a fully automated control, and will help PPWSA to maintain its edge as a true regional «role model » for production and distribution of drinking water. Indeed, water quality complies with all international standards and the loss rate is at a low record of below 10%. 

The project is financed by two loans worth 186.4 M$ from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), a 100 M$ loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and a 15 M$ (13.25M€) grant from the European Union (EU). Direct investment by PPWSA worth 80 M$. The EU grant targets specifically the connection to the poor communities living in the peri-urban areas of Phnom Penh.

Ophélie Bourhis, AFD Cambodia Country Director said: “AFD is particularly proud of supporting PPWSA in this incredibly ambitious Bakheng project that will improve living conditions of hundreds of thousands citizens in Phnom-Penh. For us, it is a major achievement of our long-standing partnership with PPWSA initiated almost 20 years ago.   France has been supporting PPWSA constantly in its remarkable recovery and development, for instance with the successful construction of three other water production facilities in Phnom Penh (Chhroy Changva, Niroth and Chamcar Mon) worth of 91 M€ loan.  Along with other European partners, we remain fully mobilized to accompany PPWSA and the Royal Government of Cambodia, in achieving the objective of universal coverage at best quality standards”.

Kris Peeters, Vice President of the EIB, who is in charge of operations in Cambodia, said: “The European Investment Bank welcomes the Bakheng project as a major improvement to the quality of life for thousands of Cambodians. The project will improve economic, social and health outlooks for people of Cambodia and the European Investment Bank, as the Bank of the European Union, is proud to have contributed to its realisation. The Bakheng project is also a testimony to the power of international cooperation and solidarity and we look forward to new cooperation opportunities with the Royal Government of Cambodia towards a sustainable, prosperous and green Cambodia.”

HE Carmen Moreno, Ambassador of the European Union to Cambodia said “As Team Europe” we are collectively committed to support Cambodia tackling the unprecedented consequences of the pandemic. I am happy to have signed our grant contribution to the largest European project ever funded in Cambodia, the Bakheng project that will create jobs and distribute clean drinkable water to hundreds of thousand people in and around Phnom Penh. We believe that our joint action in this huge national investment will make Phnom Penh a better place to live and invest in the near future!”

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