The first phase of the Bakheng water treatment plant construction project will be completed in May this year, while the second phase is scheduled for completion early next year, officials said.

The two projects, approved by the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation and the board of directors of the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA), are designed to address clean water shortages in and around the capital.

Industry minister Cham Prasidh made the announcement about the project progress during a visit to the construction site of the Bakheng water treatment plant and the groundbreaking ceremony for a 2m water pipeline under the Tonle Sap River on February 21.

Prasidh thanked the French government for their assistance. Loans were provided for the projects through the French Development Agency (AFD) and the EU.

PPWSA director-general Long Naro said that once the first and second phases have been completed, the Bakheng water treatment plant will produce 390,000 cubic metres of clean water per day. The two projects will supply clean water to 263,000 households.

“Once they are complete, the total daily production capacity of the PPWSA will be 1,020,000 cubic metres. Its five treatment plants will supply 714,000 households through almost 5,000km of pipes,” he added.

Naro explained that the plants will supply the residents of Phnom Penh and Takhmao town, and that water pressure will also be improved.

Plan International Cambodia programme manager Hang Hybunna expressed his appreciation for the approval of the new projects, saying that they will improve access to clean water and sanitation, especially in the more vulnerable urban areas.

“Despite the development of urban areas, some areas still face challenges. It is great news that attention is being paid to them,” he said.

According to the ministry, the first phase is a joint venture between the Cambodian government, represented by the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority, and the AFD, the EU, and the European Investment Bank.

The second phase is a joint venture between the PPWSA and the AFD.