Phase I of the capital’s Bak Kheng water treatment plant, constructed at the cost of $247 million, was formally put into use on June 19, in an event presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen. The new facility is capable of producing 195,000 cubic metres of potable water per day.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony at the facility, located in Bak Kheng commune of Chroy Changvar district, Hun Sen described phase I of the plant as a monumental step in the capital’s water supply.

“We are fortunate that we can rely on Japan and France, as well as the EU, for the Phnom Penh water supply. Phase II of the Bak Kheng plant is under construction and will come online next year, while financial support is being sought for the third phase,” he said.

He noted that phase I was financed by a $85 million low-interest loan from France’s development agency AFD, $100 million from investment banks and a $15 million grant from EU. The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA) accounted for the other $47 million.

“Nevertheless, there is still an imbalance between supply and demand, and more water treatment plants are needed. The fact that some parts of the capital have faced water shortages is of great concern to me,” he said, adding that the balance will be restored once supply capacity reaches over one million cubic metres per day.

Before this facility was put into use on April 20, just 640,000 cubic metres was available to the capital each day.

“From 2024, Phnom Penh’s clean water supply will increase to 987,000 cubic metres per day and from 2025 onward, it will top 1.17 million cubic metres per day. By 2030, it could be as high as 1.8 million, meaning the balance between supply and demand will be assured,” added the premier.

Minister of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation Cham Prasidh said at the ceremony that phase II of the treatment plant will have the same capacity as phase I.

“The combined capacity of the first two phases of the Bak Kheng plant will be 390,000 cubic metres. This is one of the finest achievements the Kingdom has made in the water treatment sector,” he said.