An $11 million water treatment facility that will help bring clean water to many residents of Phnom Penh and its outskirts is nearly finished and should be operational by September, said Ek Soun Chan, director, municipal water supply department.
But despite its expected capacity to produce 65,000 cubic meters of water per day, it will not be enough for the city, he said. Residents of the capital, as well as neighboring districts such as Takhmau in Kandal province, require about 230,000 cubic meters per day. Current facilities produce about 120,000, Ek Soun Chan said. At the new Russei Keo district plant, being built by the Chinese Electricity and Water Company, water pumped from the Mekong River will be chemically treated and filtered in a tower, said Ek Soun Chan.
The water will be clean enough to bath with, but not to drink, he said.
The city expects to meet the remaining need by rebuilding an old plant in Daun Penh district with a $20 million grant from Japan, he said. That project is expected to begin in October.
Despite the upgrades, though, water rates are not expected to drop, Ek Soun Chan said. Under a new payment structure in effect since January, prices range from $0.14 per cubic meter for people who use 7 cubic meters of water per month, to $0.33 per cubic meter for more than 50 cubic meters per month. The city raised taxes on water to help pay off more than $36 million borrowed to upgrade water services, including installation of new waterlines under Monivong Boulevard.
After the Russei Keo plant is finished, Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Seng Tong said, residents should be more careful about wasting water and “help each other keep the river clean.”