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Safe water from Kamchay dam

Chea Vannak / Khmer Times Share:
Kampot province has an acute shortage of drinking water. KT/Sonny Inbaraj Krishnan KT/Sonny Inbaraj Krishnan

A feasibility study on producing safe drinking water from the Chinese-built Kamchay hydropower dam in Kampot province has been completed, according to the Ministry of Industry, raising hopes that the current water shortage in the province and neighbouring Kep could be alleviated.
“Kampot and Kep have an acute shortage of water and for that reason we requested a Chinese company to carry out a study on the feasibility of converting the water stored in the reservoir of the Kamchay dam into safe drinking water,” Um Sotha, spokesman at the Ministry of Industry, said yesterday.
Mr Sotha identified the Chinese company as China Energy Engineering Corp. Ltd.
“The completed feasibility study indicates that China Energy can produce 180,000 cubic metres of drinking water a day from the water stored in Kamchay dam,” he added.
Sinohydro, a Chinese state-owned enterprise, started building the Kamchay dam in Kampot province in 2006. The dam started operations in late 2011.
The project was the first of a series of dams financed and built by Chinese dam-builders in Cambodia. It was regarded by the Cambodian government as a stepping stone for attracting major investment from China.
According to Mr Sotha, the water plant has three stages.
“The first stage has a capacity of producing 60,000 cubic metres of clean water a day. At the second stage, 120,000 cubic metres of water a day will be produced. The full capacity, at the third stage, will see 180,000 cubic metres of water produced daily.”
Commenting on the budget for the project, Mr Sotha said it “could cost anything from $35 million in the first stage to $75 million in the final stage.”
“The budget is not fixed yet but the government wants to have the drinking water plant operational within two years,” he said.
According to the Ministry of Industry, the operations would be run using the budget under the development frameworks of China’s “One Belt and One Road” initiative.
Last week, Chinese companies based in Shanghai revealed ambitious plans to establish the first-ever mega industrial plant in Kampot producing clean water.
Tep Vuthy, vice-governor of neighbouring Kep province, applauded the project, touting it as a way to deliver clean water to rural areas.
Mr Vuthy added that there is much more work to be done before groundbreaking can begin for the project.
“At the subnational level, we don’t know about the amount of investment for these projects yet,” he said. “But the demand for clean water has risen in Kep due to an increase in the number of tourists visiting the area.”
“If the project gets off the ground, it will help the tourism sector – hotels, restaurants, and other businesses.”

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