Source: Khmer Times | Wednesday, 15 June 2016, by Tin Sokhavuth
A groundbreaking ceremony for a Kampot water treatment plant was held yesterday in the presence of Japan’s Ambassador to Cambodia Yuji Kumamaru as well as Cham Prasidh, the Minister of Industry and Handicrafts.
Chin Kimheang, the program officer in charge of public relations at the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which acts as “a bridge linking Japan and developing countries,” told Khmer Times that the project’s overall budget of $21,130,000 was granted in full by the Japanese government.
She added that the plant, once completed, will be able to produce about 7,500 cubic meters of clean water a day, transportable up to 88.6km away for the service of 900 of Kampot City’s poorest households.
The budget will also aid in the technical training of human resource capable of managing the plant, according to a statement issued by JICA.
“This project will expand and improve the water supply system in Kampot, improving the access rate to safe water and improving the provision of safe water services, thereby improving the living environment for residents,” the statement said.
According to a JICA report released last week, JICA has also been working with the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA) since 1993. JICA has provided assistance to support the PPWSA’s becoming one of most successful water supply institutions in the world, it added.
As of 2013, PPWSA had received a total of about $124 million in Japanese assistance, part of which has gone towards improving the city’s human resources.
JICA has also provided assistance in the form of loans for improving access to clean water in other provinces such as Pursat, Battambang, Siem Reap, Kampong Cham, Svay Rieng and Preah Sihanouk.
The report added that access to clean water supplies in urban areas increased from 53.5 percent in 2009 to 81.28 percent in 2014, thanks in part to the work of JICA.
Despite this, access to clean water in provincial cities remained at only 65.71 percent in 2014, a figure JICA hopes to help elevate in the future through infrastructural and educational means.
Japan has been involved in Cambodia’s development since the signing of the Paris Peace Agreement in 1991, when it dispatched its first Peace Keeping Operation Mission to the country.
Its assistance in Cambodia falls under the umbrella of Japan’s Official Development Assistance policy, which aims to aid in the development of the whole Mekong Region in order to narrow the development gap between Asean member countries.
With 2008’s “Agreement between Japan and the Kingdom of Cambodia for the Liberalization, Promotion and Protection of Investment,” the government of Japan has been helping Cambodia build necessary infrastructure in the hope it will attract Japanese investors.