Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday urged accelerated construction of Cambodia’s largest water treatment plant in order to meet the demand for clean water in Phnom Penh as he was presiding over the groundbreaking ceremony of the facility in Bakheng on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.
Mr Hun Sen said that Phnom Penh faces a clean water shortage needing 756,000 cubic metres per day while water treatment plants can only supply 650,000 cubic metres.
He said there are about 40,000 families, equivalent to 12 percent of Phnom Penh’s population, who are experiencing water usage problems such as low water pressure, water available only at night or waiting to receive clean water from the state.
“Efforts must be made to develop the capacity to produce and supply clean water,” Mr Hun Sen said.
He said these problems happened in the dry season of 2020 and in 2021 and are expected to happen again in early 2022. However, the shortage can be preempted by the first phase of construction.
He expressed his pride in the current achievements that will contribute significantly to serving the needs of the people and society.
The plant, designed and built by Vinci Construction Grands Projets (sic), will have the capacity to supply one million cubic metres of drinking water daily once fully operational.
It will cost $190 million and is co-financed by the French Development Agency, European Investment Bank and the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA).
Initially, $155 million will be spent building essential infrastructure, including pipelines. In the second phase, the capacity of the facility will be doubled to 390,000 cubic metres daily at a cost of $45 million.
The facility will be built over 15 hectares of land, said Um Sotha, spokesman at the Ministry of Industry. He added that the first phase will finish construction in late 2022 and the second phase will finish in 2023.
The Bakheng water treatment facility will be equipped with a two-metre diameter pipeline, which will be the biggest pipeline in the city, he said.
The water treatment plant will also be the biggest water treatment facility in the capital city and it will enable PPWSA to be able to supply about one million cubic metres of water per day in the capital city, said Sotha.
Minister of Industry Cham Prasidh said that the water treatment plant can supply additional water to 1.4 million families and has a production capacity of one million cubic metres per day.
Prasidh added that by 2030, Phnom Penh will have a population of four million. Therefore, the demand for clean water will also increase as the government through the PPWSA prepares to reserve two hectares of land on Koh Nora and 25 hectares in Boeng Tamouk for the construction of additional water treatment plants.
He said that two other water treatment plants are currently under construction in Takhmao city, with a $32 million grant from Japan and a capacity of 30,000 cubic metres, and another water treatment plant in Kambol district’s Boeng Thom commune funded by a Czech grant of $1.57 million, which has the capacity to produce 5,000 cubic metres of clean water per day.