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High costs at Kamchay dam prompts new study

Chea Vannak / Khmer Times Share:
The Kamchay dam is key in plans to expand the supply of drinking water. KT/Chea Vannak

China Energy Engineering Corp Ltd will be conducting a second feasibility study on producing safe drinking water from the Kamchay hydropower dam in Kampot province after the first study showed that production costs were higher than initially expected.

The first feasibility study concluded that water produced at the Kamchay dam would be more expensive than that purchased from existing water suppliers in Kampot and Kep, Um Sotha, a spokesman at the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft, said yesterday.

He added that the company has been asked to conduct a second study on previously unexplored methods of production at the dam that may yield cheaper drinking water.

“If the cost of production is high, retail prices will be high as well,” he said. “We asked the company to conduct a new study and find ways to make the water cheaper for consumers in the area.

“Our goal is to help people get safe water at a marketable price.”

The new study is expected to be concluded before July. If approved, the Chinese company will take on the project on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis.

Water produced at the site will be sold to the National Water Supply Authority.

The Kamchay safe water project is the government’s answer to current water shortages faced by people in the coastal provinces of Kampot and Kep.

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.

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.”

Speaking during a cabinet meeting last month, Prime Minister Hun Sen said their goal is to give access to clean water to every area in the country by the year 2025.

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