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New Water Treatment Plant Starts to Relieve Phnom Penh Water Shortages

PHNOM PENH: The Bak Kheng water treatment plant in Phnom Penh was officially inaugurated on the morning of June 19, with Prime Minister Hun Sen presiding. During the ceremony, the Prime Minister contrasted the current progress with the water shortages of 1979-1995, emphasizing that he too experienced hardships.

Senior Minister of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation, Cham Prasidh, noted that the construction of the Bak Kheng water treatment plant began on May 5, 2020 and was funded by a $247 million loan agreement between the Royal Government of Cambodia, the French Agency for Development, and the European Investment Bank.

According to Senior Minister Cham Prasidh, the new water treatment plant will supply clean water to about 40,000 families on the outskirts of Phnom Penh who often encounter water shortages during the dry season. "This is the first large capacity water treatment plant in the history Cambodia," he said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen stated that he himself had experienced water shortages in Phnom Penh and had to collect river water to survive. He said that even he, as a foreign minister and then Prime Minister, had to bathe using a bucket and pitcher at that time. He said, "The history of water management in Phnom Penh is not simple."

Senior Minister Cham Prasidh stated that the Bak Kheng water treatment plant will be able to produce a total of 390,000 cubic meters of clean water per day once both phases of the project are complete. With the first stage complete, the plant can currently produce 195,000 cubic meters of clean water per day. The second phase is set for completion in January 2024, which will provide an additional 195,000 cubic meters each day.

The facility was built by the French construction company VINCI Construction Grands Projets and its technical specifications were inspected by consulting engineers at the French company SAFEGE.

The Minister of Industry also pointed out that the construction of the new water supply system will soon be launched with a 87 km water pipeline with a diameter of two meters bringing water from the Tonle Sap. He expects it will operate for more than 50 years. He said he had requested permission to rename this large-scale water pipeline after First Lady Bun Rany.

Senior Minister Cham Prasidh emphasized that the Bak Kheng water treatment plant will increase water production capacity by 70% throughout Phnom Penh and Takhmao. Currently about from 600,000 cubic meters of clean water are produced each day. By 2025, the output will reach nearly one million cubic meters and by 2030, they hope to output 1.8 million cubic meters of clean water each day.

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