Minister of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation Cham Prasidh on December 13 presided over the groundbreaking ceremony for a project aimed at increasing access to clean water for the people in Pursat town.

The “Project for Expansion of the Water Supply System in Pursat” is carried out under a grant of approximately $21.9 million from the Japanese government.

The ceremony was held in the presence of Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) senior representative Miyahara Ai.

The work on the project was done primarily in Lolok Sa commune’s Phsar Leu village of Pursat town.

The purpose of the project is to improve access to a safe and stable supply of water for the town, thereby improving the quality of life of the residents. The project entails building a raw water pumping station with an intake capacity of 7,260 cubic metres per day, and a water treatment plant with a capacity of 6,600 cubic metres a day.

In a press release, JICA said the project has several elements to it. They will construct an administrative building for management of the local water treatment infrastructure as well as install 8.3km of raw water conveyance pipes and 75.4km of clean water distribution pipes.

The project will also procure laboratory equipment for water quality analysis in addition to the power tools, machinery and mechanical equipment and materials necessary to connect households to the water system, including poor households.

The project will provide technical assistance for operation and management of the infrastructure and for production management. It is scheduled for completion by August 2023.

Upon its completion, the water treatment capacity of the newly built Pursat Waterworks will be 13,860m3 per day as its daily average.

“It is expected that 86.1 per cent of the total urban population and 67.9 per cent of the total population of 110,531 in the supply area of Pursat Waterworks will be benefitting from it by 2025,” said the press statement.

This is the second grant aid project provided by the Japanese government to Pursat Waterworks following an earlier grant provided in 2014.

“This project will significantly support the efforts of the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation to achieve its target as stated in the National Strategic Development Plan of attaining 100 per cent clean water supply coverage in urban areas by 2025,” it said.

JICA has been actively involved in the development of the water supply sector in Cambodia. Many water supply infrastructure networks have been built with its grant funding in provinces such as Kampong Cham, Battambang, Kampot, Siem Reap and Preah Sihanouk as well as in the capital.

JICA also implements various technical cooperation projects with the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority, Siem Reap Water Supply Authority, the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation and the Public Water Supply Authority to strengthen their technical, financial, management and administrative capacities.

The Japanese development agency – which has a long and active history of operating in Cambodia – has also provided concessional financing to the Phnom Penh and Siem Reap water supply authorities.