The Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Beijing Urban Construction Group Co Ltd (BUCG) in Phnom Penh, to undertake a study of sewerage and drainage systems.
The study will involve Sihanoukville, Siem Reap town and Kandal province’s Takhmao town and is aimed at developing suitable sewage and drainage systems.
Chanthol said BUCG will begin with a study to design a master drainage system for Sihanoukville this month. The study is set to conclude in May 2019.
From October this year to February 2020, it will conduct a similar study in Siem Reap, and do the same in Takhmao from February 2019 to December 2020.
“The government and [BUCG] officials are pleased with our cooperation and know that a smooth working process is important to complete the master plan for drainage and sewage systems,” Chanthol said.
Based on a United Nations report, he said a large number of people around the world died because of health issues caused by poor drainage systems and that tonnes of contaminated water pour into rivers, lakes, and seas.
He also noted that the Asia Development Bank (ADB) estimated the lack of efficient drainage systems in the Kingdom cost the economy some $450 million annually.
“The MoU is very important, especially in a quickly developing town like Sihanoukville. We need to have a master plan immediately in order to build a drainage system that can serve the city,” Chanthol said.
Vasim Soriya, the director of the General Department of Administration at the Public Works Ministry, said he wasn’t sure how much the study would cost, but estimated it would be in the $500,000 to $1 million range. The company is financing the study.
“The ministry lacks the funds to carry out the study, and development partners like ADB and the World Bank lack funds as well, so we engaged with the private sector. ADB wouldn’t dare to undertake such a study because of the huge costs involved,” Soriya said.