The FINANCIAL — The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Directors has approved a $50 million loan to help expand and improve urban water supply and sanitation services in four of Cambodia’s largest provincial cities, all of which are important commercial, industrial, and tourist centers in the country.
ADB will also administer a $10 million grant from the Japan Fund for the Joint Crediting Mechanism, funded by the Government of Japan, to help finance a new energy-efficient wastewater treatment plant in Battambang. ADB will also administer a €40 million ($43.54 million) loan cofinancing from Agence Française de Développement (AFD), which will jointly finance the project in all four cities.
“As urbanization in Cambodia continues at a rapid pace, there is a need to ensure that people have access to safe and reliable water supply and sanitation services to support their productivity and daily lives, and improve their urban environment,” said Michael White, Urban Development Specialist at ADB’s Southeast Asia Department. “ADB will work closely with the Government of Cambodia to ensure that people, particularly in the rapidly growing urban centers in the country, have access to these basic urban services.”
Cambodia’s urban population is accelerating at a consistent pace, with the number of people living in cities expected to reach around 30% of the country’s total by 2030. While this phenomenon has helped in the country’s growth over the last few years and the emergence of secondary cities like Battambang, Kampong Cham, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville—project cities—it also increased the need for basic urban services like water supply and sanitation. Currently, only 42.2% of the urban population—excluding the capital Phnom Penh—have access to piped water supply, and while 80.2% have access to improved sanitation, only 10.7% have access to sewerage and wastewater treatment.
The Provincial Water Supply and Sanitation Project will improve piped water supply in Battambang and Kampong Cham, benefitting an additional 209,000 people—or about 40,000 connections—by 2022, through the construction of two water treatment plants with a combined capacity of 61,600 cubic meters per day and new distribution networks with a combined length of 161 kilometers (km). This will increase coverage of piped water supply to about 90% of the population in the project cities, moving closer to the government’s 100% target by 2025, according to ADB.
Additionally, the project will improve urban sanitation services through the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant in Battambang and expansion of the wastewater treatment plant at Sihanoukville, with a combined capacity of more than 31,000 cubic meters per day, and supported with construction of an additional 37 km of new sewer pipelines. A new septage management system will also be constructed in Kampong Cham and a new 3.7-km trunk sewer will be built in Siem Reap to reduce pollution and improve the urban environment in this international tourist destination. Institutional capacity support will also be provided to relevant agencies and authorities.
Total cost of the project is about $119.17 million, with the government contributing $10.54 million and the European Union’s Asia Investment Facility providing a €4.67 million ($5.09 million) grant to be administered by AFD to support energy efficiency measures, free household sewer connections, and capacity development. The project’s completion date is expected at the end of 2022.