The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA) has announced the pilot launch of Phase II of the Bak Kheng Water Treatment Plant and a 2m-diameter water main crossing the bed of Tonle Sap Lake, aiming to enhance water supply pressure throughout Phnom Penh and neighbouring Takhmao town in Kandal province.

According to a PPWSA announcement, following the completion of construction, quality control checks and technical equipment installation, the plant commenced operations on March 3 at noon. 

The PPWSA has called for public cooperation in reporting any leaks or muddy water, thereby enabling its working group to conduct inspections and maintenance.

To alleviate water shortages on the outskirts of the capital, the authority signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in late February to supply clean water to six private sector water providers in the areas.

Initially, this will involve providing approximately 10,000 to 20,000 cubic metres of water.

At the signing ceremony, PPWSA director-general Long Naro outlined the primary objectives: reviewing water purchase agreements and helping the private companies enhance service quality. 

Naro highlighted this as the commencement of wholesale operations, starting from the Bak Kheng area along National Road (NR) 6A to the Prek Tamak Bridge, covering about 10,000 households. 

He said this marks the first phase in developing a pipeline system to supply water in the capital and its suburbs.

“People in Phnom Penh, as well as those on the outskirts, must have access to quality and affordable water. By 2030, our goal is to achieve 100 per cent water supply coverage in the areas,” Naro stated.

Minister of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation Hem Vanndy confirmed that the ministry is focused on promoting the establishment of water plants for wholesale to the private sector. 

During the ministry’s annual review and planning meeting on February 21, he noted that water has become a top priority for the government, which is committed to enhancing the sector’s management and development, fostering private investment to address public needs and bolstering industrial, agro-industrial and rural economic development.

“In 2023, we completed and inaugurated five water supply infrastructure projects, two of which were funded by a Japanese grant of approximately $50.7 million, and three through concessional financing from development partners, amounting to around $414.9 million,” Vanndy stated.

In 2023, the total volume of water production and supply nationwide was about 461 million cubic metres, marking a 16 per cent increase over 2022. By the end of the year, PPWSA and private operators had connected 1,307,810 customers, an 8.5 per cent rise. Out of 10,173 villages in the service areas, 6,519 now have access to a clean water network, according to the minister.