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October 28, 2013

JICA, City of Phnom Penh, and Local Residents Cooperate Together to Combat Flood in Phnom Penh –Flood Protection & Drainage Improvement in Phnom Penh (Phase 3)

PhotoDuring raining season, many areas of Phnom Penh become soaked with flooded water(Photo taken in October, 2013)

Cambodia's raining season lasts from May to the end of October. On top of the heavy rain, the capital city of Phnom Penh struggles with an over-capacity of its drainage systems caused by a large influx of people that swelled the population of the city. Most of the drainage channels and drainage systems in Phnom Penh were constructed right after the end of civil wars. Over the years, the drainage systems became severely deteriorated, as a result, about 250 to 300 thousands of urban dwellers are currently affected by floods during raining seasons.


Flood Protection & Drainage Improvement in Phnom Penh: Phase 1 & 2

In 1999, JICA implemented "Master Plan for Flood Protection and Drainage Improvement in Phnom Penh", followed by a series of "Project for Flood Protection and Drainage Improvement in Phnom Penh City". The Phase 1 of the project targeted at South-Western part of the city to improve drainage sluiceway/channels, construct drainage sluiceways and pumping station, and to reinforce dikes. Phase 2 aimed at improving the drainage systems in North-Eastern area, including construction of an underground reservoirs, pumping stations, riverbank revetment, and interceptor pipe along Tonle Sap River Park. Phase 1 and 2 succeeded in lessening the damage of floods in the targeted areas.

PhotoPhase 2 Target area

PhotoUnderground Reservoir constructed along the riverside (Phase 2)


Phase 3: Construction of Drainage Systems & Sediment Chamber and Maintenance of Drainage Systems

In 2012, JICA, in cooperation with Department of Public Works and Transport Phnom Penh Capital City (DPWT), started to implement the Phase 3 which targets the drainage networks in South-Eastern part of Phnom Penh.

In addition to the construction projects, including the reconstruction of more than 50-year-old Sediment Chamber, the project also focuses on strengthening city's capacity to maintain drainage pipes/channels. To this end, JICA procured two sets of Sludge Suckers and two sets of High Water-Jet Machine for the cleaning of drainage pipes.

It is a common practice in Cambodia to have drainage-cleaning staff crawl into 60cm drainage pipes to clean-up the inside. With the introduction of High Water-Jet Machines, however, cleaning staff may no longer have to endanger their lives to conduct the clean-up of unsanitary drainage pipes.

PhotoUpon the completion of Phase 3 (Expected in October, 2015), about 230 thousands residents, about 2,600 stores/markets, and 60 public centers in the targeted area would be protected from the devastating consequences of flood.

PhotoBefore project, about 1m-high water level lasted for about 7h. After the completion of this project, however, the water level is expected to go down to 20cm high and would last 2h (Estimation based on Two-year probability rainfall)

PhotoManhole cleanings done by High-Water Jet Machine donated by JICA

PhotoWith the new sludge sucker and high water-jet machine at work, cleaning staff may no longer have to introduce themselves into drainage pipes.


Urban Dwellers in Action: Clean-Up Campaign

PhotoGarbage floating on the flooded water. Littering is the biggest cause of drainage clogging.

Maintenance of drainage systems requires cooperation and understanding from the urban dwellers. Knowing that JICA or local government alone cannot keep the drainage systems cleaned, the governor of Phnom Penh (Mr. Pa Socheatevong) launched a city-wide "Clean-Up Campaign" in the late August.

This campaign aims at raising awareness on hazardous consequences of littering, which is considered as one of the factors to cause clogging in drainage networks. This ambitious campaign also aims at cleaning all the manholes in Phnom Penh by the end of 2013 by utilizing the sludge suckers and high water-jet machines donated by JICA.

On August 30, about 100 residents gathered together at the partial hand-over ceremony conducted on the street where JICA had completed the repairing project. At the ceremony, the governor of Phnom Penh asked for the residents' understanding and cooperation for on-going construction projects, as well as their active participation in the clean-up campaign.

PhotoAbout 100 residents gathered at the partial hand-over ceremony (August 30, Phnom Penh)

JICA will continue to work with the city of Phnom Penh and the local residents to achieve our shared goal of protecting people and the city from the devastating floods.


For more information:

  1. Flood Protection and Drainage Improvement in Phnom Penh (PDF/756KB)
  2. About clean-up campaign in Phnom Penh:
    “New Campaign Aims to Clean Phnom Penh’s Drainage System” (Cambodia Daily, August 26, 2013) (exernal link)

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