Delegation of the European Union to Cambodia

AFD, EIB and the European Union celebrate the launch of construction works for the largest water treatment plant in Cambodia

Brussels, 01/02/2021 - 10:09, UNIQUE ID: 210201_5
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Phnom Penh, February 1, 2021. Construction works on Cambodia's largest water treatment plant were launched today in the presence of Prime Minister Hun Sen. Bakheng Water Production Facilities will increase water production capacity in Phnom Penh by 65%, from 600 000 m3/day currently to around 1 000 000 m3/day in 2024.

The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA) has been facing a rapidly increasing water demand since the early 2010s, spurred by intense construction activities and population growth. After doubling its water production capacity between 2012 and 2017, PPWSA now aims at maintaining its coverage of water demand and expand its service area to 100% of the city by 2025, with the joint support of the Agence française de développement (AFD), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Union (EU).

The Bakheng Water Supply Project is the major infrastructure project defined in PPWSA’s 2016-2030 Master Plan. The total production capacity of the facilities will be 390,000 m3/day. The total production capacity of the facilities will be 390 000 m3/day, to be built in two phases. The first phase of 195 000m3/day will put in operation in the first quarter of 2023, and the full capacity will be reached one year later after completion of phase 2. In addition, PPWSA will expand the transmission network by 130 km and the distribution network by 1,600 km throughout the city. It will be able to serve additional 100 000 domestic connections and 25 000 commercial connections and to improve the service quality for all citizens.

The facilities will consist of an intake pumping station at the upper Mekong River bank, a water treatment plant and a transmission main of 2-meters diameter pipeline laying along the Win-Win boulevard then crossing Tonlé Sap River by micro-tunneling. Just as the other existing PPWSA plants, the Bakheng plant will feature a high level of technology including a fully automated control, and will help PPWSA to maintain its edge as a true regional «role model » for production and distribution of drinking water. Indeed, water quality complies with all international standards and the loss rate is at a low record of below 10%. 

The project is financed by two loans worth 186.4 M$ from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), a 100 M$ loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and a 15 M$ (13.25M€) grant from the European Union (EU). Direct investment by PPWSA worth 80 M$. The EU grant targets specifically the connection to the poor communities living in the peri-urban areas of Phnom Penh.

Ophélie Bourhis, AFD Cambodia Country Director said: “AFD is particularly proud of supporting PPWSA in this incredibly ambitious Bakheng project that will improve living conditions of hundreds of thousands citizens in Phnom-Penh. For us, it is a major achievement of our long-standing partnership with PPWSA initiated almost 20 years ago.   France has been supporting PPWSA constantly in its remarkable recovery and development, for instance with the successful construction of three other water production facilities in Phnom Penh (Chhroy Changva, Niroth and Chamcar Mon) worth of 91 M€ loan.  Along with other European partners, we remain fully mobilized to accompany PPWSA and the Royal Government of Cambodia, in achieving the objective of universal coverage at best quality standards”.

Kris Peeters, Vice President of the EIB, who is in charge of operations in Cambodia, said: “The European Investment Bank welcomes the Bakheng project as a major improvement to the quality of life for thousands of Cambodians. The project will improve economic, social and health outlooks for people of Cambodia and the European Investment Bank, as the Bank of the European Union, is proud to have contributed to its realisation. The Bakheng project is also a testimony to the power of international cooperation and solidarity and we look forward to new cooperation opportunities with the Royal Government of Cambodia towards a sustainable, prosperous and green Cambodia.”

HE Carmen Moreno, Ambassador of the European Union to Cambodia said “As Team Europe” we are collectively committed to support Cambodia tackling the unprecedented consequences of the pandemic. I am happy to have signed our grant contribution to the largest European project ever funded in Cambodia, the Bakheng project that will create jobs and distribute clean drinkable water to hundreds of thousand people in and around Phnom Penh. We believe that our joint action in this huge national investment will make Phnom Penh a better place to live and invest in the near future!”

About the Agence Française de Développement

Agence Française de Développement Group (AFD Group) implements France’s policy in the areas of development and international solidarity. It finances, supports and accelerates transitions towards a more coherent and resilient world. Comprised of AFD, which finances the public sector and NGOs; Proparco, which finances the private sector; and soon, Expertise France for technical cooperation, the Group finances, supports and accelerates transitions towards a more resilient and sustainable world.

With our partners, we are building shared solutions with and for the people of the Global South. Our teams are active in more than 4,000 projects in the field – in overseas France, in some 115 countries and in crisis areas, working to promote the “common goods” that are climate, biodiversity, peace, gender equality, education and health. It’s our way of contributing to the commitment France and the French people have made to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Towards a world in common.   

About the European Union

The European Union (EU) plays an important role in diplomacy and works to foster stability, security and prosperity, democracy, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law at international level. The EU is the largest trade block in the world and the world's biggest exporter of manufactured goods and services, the biggest import market for over 100 countries and the second largest destination for Cambodian exports.

The EU and its 27 Member States (Team Europe) are the largest providers of development assistance with more than 50% of the assistance provided worldwide and working in partnership with developing countries to deliver on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In Cambodia, Team Europe is the second largest provider of development assistance and the first one for grant assistance.

About the EIB in Asia

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. For 25 years, the EIB has supported the economic and social development in Asia and the Pacific region by investing EUR 9.5 billion in 14 countries. The EIB supported projects ranging from cutting travel times for people of Bangalore with a new metro line, to providing cheaper, cleaner energy in western Nepal or extending the access to clean, drinkable water for the people of Cambodia.

In Asia, the EIB focus is on climate action and environmental sustainability across all sectors. Since 2008, the EU bank invested EUR 6 billion in climate action in Asia. Through the EIB financing and technical advice, the EU Bank acts as a catalyst to attract the funding needed to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. The EIB also strives to mainstream gender equality in its activities, ensuring that women, men, girls and boys can benefit from the Bank supported projects equally and equitably.

About the EIB in Cambodia

The European Investment Bank has been actively supporting the sustainable development of Cambodia since 2018. To date, the EU bank has invested EUR 245 million in the country improving access to drinkable water, rural infrastructure including rehabilitation of rural roads and irrigation systems; and with it improving the quality of lives for millions of Cambodians. The EU Banks works together with the European Union, the Royal Government of Cambodia and other development partners in the country.  For more information on the Bakheng Water Project please see the video in this link to YouTube.


Charlotte Le Layo – Regional Communications Manager, AFD –

Tibor Jona – Media Officer, EIB –

Pok POUN – Press and information officer, EU –


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