• EIB signs a new EUR 85.9 million loan for the construction of the Bakheng Water Treatment Plant
  • First EIB investment in Cambodia under the EU External Lending Mandate
  • Backed by an EU investment grant of EUR 13.5 million

During the European Development Days in Brussels, the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed a new EUR 85.9 million loan with the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority to improve drinking water supply in and around the capital of Cambodia. This project will be backed by an investment grant from the Asia Investment Facility of the European Union of EUR 13.5 million and is supported by Agence Française de Développement (AFD) under the Mutual Reliance Initiative.

This financing will enable the construction of the Bakheng Water Treatment Plant (WTP) in the northern outskirts of Phnom Penh with its intake located on the west bank of the Mekong River. It will help increase the water production capacity and extend the distribution network of the city. Around 71 billion litres of clean water will be delivered every year in and around the capital of Cambodia, home to 10% of the country’s population and hosting the majority of industrial activities.

Andrew McDowell, EIB Vice-President in charge of EIB operations in Cambodia, said: “By providing clean drinking water to the population of Phnom Penh, this project will help reduce inequalities and make a real difference to people’s health and education. This is especially true for those living in the poorest areas of the city, particularly the women and young girls who are traditionally the water carriers, who have had no access to a safe and reliable water supply. This project will also help communities adapt to climate change by protecting the ground water. I am very pleased to join forces on this project with the European Commission, AfD and our Cambodian partners; this shows the real added value of cooperation.”

George Edgar, European Union Ambassador to Cambodia, said: “Sustainable Development Goal 6 includes a target to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water for all by 2030. The EU has committed to supporting the Royal Government of Cambodia to meet SDG 6 by providing a drinking water supply to the fast growing population of the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh. With the significant investment grant provided by the EU in this project, priority will be given to connect poor suburbs and poor urban families, including women headed household with low income and families with disabled members, to the water distribution network. We believe that everyone should have equal opportunity in access to clean water.”

Vanndy Hem, Under-Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Cambodia, said: “The Project will play a very important role in improving the living standards of the rapidly expanding population of Phnom Penh city by meeting their basic need of safe and clean water supply, thereby contributing to improved health outcomes. This is the first EIB investment in Cambodia and backed by an investment grant from EUR 13.5 from the Asia Investment Facility, demonstrating the ability of the Royal Government of Cambodia to diversify its sources of development financing. The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority has a proven record of excellent performance and the Royal Government is confident in its capacity to successfully complete the Project.”

Sim Sitha, Director General of the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority, said:” As you may know, the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA) initiated its infrastructure rehabilitation process 22 years ago. These efforts have produced remarkable results: Non-Revenue Water dropped from 72% to 8%, sales were multiplied by 10, and billing ratio is now close to 100%. Those results could not have been achieved without the constant backing from both the Royal Government of Cambodia and PPWSA’s development partners. AfD and EIB plaid a pillar role by helping PPWSA to increase its production and distribution capacities to meet the water demand forecast set in its Master Plan 2016-2030. This enabled PPWSA to respond to the strong demographic and economic growth – especially in peripheral neighbourhoods.”

This project is aligned with the Multiannual Indicative Programme 2014-2020 for the European Union’s cooperation with the Kingdom of Cambodia (KOC), especially with the first sector of EU development cooperation “agriculture and natural resource management”, and with the European Development Cooperation Strategy for Cambodia 2014-2018 on infrastructure.