Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen, on the official launch of the water treatment plant at Bak Khaeng, Phase-I [Unofficial Translation]


(1) On February 1, 2021 – Cambodia launched the construction of a water treatment plant, while in Myanmar there was a coup d’etat

On February 1, 2021 […] a memorable event was the news of the coup in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. From here, I declared that we would not comment on it, considering that it was an internal matter of Myanmar. Now we can compare. On that day, Cambodia celebrated the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the first phase of a water treatment plant in Bak Khaeng, which we are now inaugurating. The second phase is under construction, which will be inaugurated next year. The third phase is negotiating for a loan. Meanwhile, in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, the situation is not easing. It is worse from day to day. We can compare a country with peace (and a country with instability). (Though) in the Covid-19 phase, we could still work on development […] for a country at war, there is only destruction […]

(2) We thank Japan, France and European Union for funding the water supply project in Phnom Penh

This water supply project can be said to be a great achievement that – as His Excellency Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister and Minister of Industry and Innovation, just reported – is an unprecedented achievement of more than 100 years. I dare say that (in an effort to address the need for clean water in) Phnom Penh, if not to rely on Japan, not to rely on France, not to rely on the European Union, who should I rely on? In Phnom Penh, last April before the Khmer New Year, places where they used to have water have lacked water […] thanks to combined efforts of the Ministry of Industry (and Innovation) as well as the Phnom Penh Capital Hall and Kandal Province, we have been able to solve the water shortage at that time by transporting water to supply those places. After the Khmer New Year, we have finished building (the water treatment plant). We embedded the pipeline (at the riverbed) to (deliver water from this side to) that side and we are able to provide water need for the SEA Games […]

(3) Using a combined capital of 247 million dollars, inauguration of the first phase, the second phase is under construction, the third phase is seeking fund

Here, we have invested US$ 247 million to run (the Phase-I project), of which the Royal Government pays (not in cash but) the exemption from taxes and duties on imports that are all burden on the state. The French development agency – AFD provides US$ 85 million in low-interest loans. The European Investment Bank (EIB) lends the project US$ 100 million. The European Union provides US$ 15 million in grant. Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority’s contribution was US$ 47 million. We have raised funds from all directions to build (this water treatment plants) here […] when we reach the final stage, we will be able to produce up to more than 1 million cubic meters per day. That will alleviate this disequilibrium (between demand for clean water and its production) […] in between 2025-2030, the production capacity will reach 1,800,000 cubic meters per day. We will address the disequilibrium between supply and demand […]

(4) Do not worry, Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority can afford to repay

We are bound to depend on France and the European Union […] and let neither France nor AFD worry. Please continue to help us. The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA) is able to repay. Do not worry that we lack money to repay because this water is pumped to sell. We sell and get money to develop further – but also keep the part that we needed to repay. Borrowing and not repaying means we are not fulfilling our obligations […] we trust in VINCI’s ability to not only build the airport, but also to build this (water treatment plant with) amazing ability. In particular, dropping a hose under water to transfer water to the other side is a great ability. I think this is a partner we have been and will be working with for a long time. We could even walk in the empty pipe because the water pipe is more than 2 meters in diameter. I believe that with the water available now, plus the water available next year and beyond, the satellite cities under construction will no longer lack water, and will reduce consumption of water from underground […]

(5) Worrying of unpredictable geological risk for taking water from underground

Japan helps extract 60,000 cubic meters of groundwater per day. Other than that, we get water from other sources. What are the risks of taking groundwater? Just a small well, it is not a big problem, but when we take too much groundwater, it can change what is in there, which we cannot know […] it is for that reason that Cambodia has not drilled for oil underground […] Hopefully in the future, Cambodia can further study and drill for oil in the Tonle Sap region, on land and in other water areas […] now the Phase-II (of the water plant construction) is underway. Please continue to help us to implement the Phase-III project […]

Since VINCI has already implemented it, AFD is already involved, why bother looking for someone else to do the third phase. France can just do it. I said, if I am not allowed to rely on France, who will I rely on? […] we need to be just on this. Mr. Ambassador, I want France to take the lead in negotiations with the European Investment Bank and the European Union. The European Union may provide additional grant for the third phase. Let me thank you in advance. If the European Investment Bank does not provide assistance, the European Union’s representative here, Ambassador Carmen Moreno Raymundo, who did not come today (can help since for this project that we are inaugurating), the EU provided USD 15 million […]

(6) Strengthen water supply capacity as city will expand along National Road 6 to Batheay

Please make effort to let the people here (at Bak Khaeng and other Sangkats) have the priority to draw water to their homes. The water plant is in their location and is able to supply water to Takhmao (which is on the other side of town), but there is no water for them […] on National Road 6, (there will be) growing city (all the way to) Batheay district. In this regard, the water supply capacity of this place must reach to that point […] now we can drink water from the faucet. We supply the French standard clean water. We take after the French standard. When I first went to France, I also tried it from the faucet […] I would say the Great Pipe of Samdech Bun Rany Hun Sen is not an ordinary pipe because it is more than 2 meters in diameters […]

(7) Together keep peace to further develop the country On February 1, 2021, despite the Covid-19 outbreak, we had gone ahead with the construction (of the water treatment plant). In doing so, today we have the ability to do Phase 1 water supply for Phnom Penh. We will move on to the second phase, which will cost an additional US$ 381 million, and the fund needed for the third phase is still under negotiation. We see that as the country is in peace, even though there has been pressure from Covid-19, we can still realize achievements. As I mentioned above, February 1, 2021, was the day of the coup in Myanmar. What new achievements has Myanmar made […] this requires us to continue to work together to keep the peace for our poor country and further develop the country […]./.