The European Investment Bank (EIB) has said it secured a 12.7 million euro (nearly $14 million) grant from the European Union for the construction of the Bakheng Water Treatment Plant and its 500 kilometres of distribution network in Phnom Penh.
Bakheng is the largest European investment project in Cambodia co-financed by several European and Cambodian partners, in which the EU grant will help guarantee the right of Phnom Penh’s poorest communities to have access to safe and affordable water.
The construction of Bakheng I plant started this month. It has a production capacity of 195,000 cubic metres per day and is scheduled for completion in 2022. The project costs around $240 million. Work on the Bakheng II plant, which can produce 195,000 cubic metres of water day, will start by 2022 and end two years later.
The infrastructure will bring safe drinking water and improve the quality of life for 700,000 people in the city. It is a long-term investment in the country`s resilience to a pandemic such as COVID-19 because it provides steady access to clean drinking water, critical for effective crisis mitigation.
This massive project is expected to have a major impact in terms of people getting access to clean water but also it will create jobs, which is very important during this crisis.
“The EU grant will expand the water distribution network to the poorest areas of the city. It complements an earlier 185 million euro investment from the EIB and the Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD).
Blending of the EIB, the AFD and the EU financing will provide treated potable water to fast-expanding Phnom Penh, where the demand for piped water is expected to nearly double from current needs by 2030,” the EIB said.
The project will have a positive economic effect on the households because it will reduce daily expenditure for bottled drinking water. At present, close to 70 percent o Cambodians do not have direct access to a piped water supply, including 28 percent of people living in Phnom Penh.
Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA) Director-General Sim Sitha, told Khmer Times that he welcomed the move. He said that it is in progress for the EU grant to PPWSA.
“This grant will go to the Ministry of Economy and Finance and it will update us on progress,” he added.
Under Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy and Finance Hem Vanndy said that the Cambodian government welcomes the contribution from our European partners because it will have a major impact on the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of Cambodians.
“The projects we implement with the EU and the EIB such as Bakheng Water are important for Cambodia because they support our sustainable development and growth. We look forward to expanding this cooperation for the benefit of the people of Cambodia and the nastion’s economy,” said Vanndy.
Vice-President of the EIB Andrew McDowell said: “This project testifies to the power of European cooperation and solidarity with Cambodia and its people. Our support and cooperation with the Royal Government of Cambodia are empowering us to look forward to further partnerships and EIB support in the country to contribute to the sustainable development of Cambodia,” said McDowell.
Water is the main source of life and access to it is conidered a basic human right. Living without safe water can cause illness and poverty and it is also a threat to public health, particularly during the current pandemic.
This year, the production capacity is about 600,000 cubic metres per day, while the actual demand is around 700,000 cubic metres a day. In 2021, the production capacity will remain at about 600,000 cubic metres per day but the demand will keep increasing year-on-year. The number of actual clients has increased from 390,067 in 2019 up to 410,067 this year and is estimated to be 430,067 in 2021, 450,067 in 2022 and 470,067 in 2023.
At present there are four main water treatment plants: Phum Prek Water Treatment Plant, which has a capacity of 150,000 cubic metres per day (m3/d). Chroy Changvar Water Treatment Plant, which manages 130,000 m3/d, Chamkarmon water plant, which provides 52,000 m3/d, and Niroth Water Treatment Plant with 260,000 m3/d – a total of 592,000 m3/d.