A new drinking water production plant for Cayenne

A drinking water production plant has been built at Matiti, French Guiana in order to meet the needs of the Cayenne urban area. The population of the agglomeration centred on the French Guianese capital is growing at a rate of 4 % a year. Prior to construction of the new plant, Cayenne's drinking water supply infrastructure was inadequate, particularly during the dry season.

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The drinking water produced by the new plant is taken from the Kourou river on the Atlantic coast of the Amazon region. The plant guarantees a sufficient supply of drinking water, even in the dry period.

The new infrastructure has been connected with the existing supply system. It is able to supply 24 000 m³ of water a day and gives an extra 20 000 people access to drinking water. By providing a reliable supply, the project enhances the quality of life of the local population in an environmentally sustainable way and helps to maintain the attractiveness of one of the EU's outermost regions.

A link with the existing supply system

The project includes construction of a water intake structure in the Kourou river with a capacity of 1 400 m³/hour, a water production and treatment plant with a capacity of 1 200 m³/hour and an 8 000 m³ storage reservoir next to Cayenne. In addition, 9 km of pipelines for raw water and 30 km for treated water have been laid.

Investment in the new infrastructure totals over EUR 54.6 million and residents pay for the water they use, thus generating revenue. However, this is not sufficient to cover costs, and so the EU is providing EUR 9.5 million in funding.

A fast-growing urban area

The Cayenne urban area is situated on the Atlantic coast of French Guiana, a French overseas department and region, and includes the municipalities of Cayenne, Matoury, Rémire-Montjoly, Macouria, Roura and Montsinéry-Tonnégrande. Its 130 000 inhabitants account for 60 % of French Guiana's entire population. At current growth rates, the population of the agglomeration is projected to reach 200 000 by 2030.

Previously, Cayenne's main sources of drinking water were the surface waters of the Comté river and the water storage dam at Rorota, with the plant in the Comté river providing almost 90 % of the available water. These sources normally supply separate networks, with the possibility to link up during the dry season if the supply at Rorota is insufficient.

Drinking water supply in the dry season reaches critical levels due to a combination of diminishing reserves and higher consumption. Moreover, in the last 10 years, shortages have increased due to a rise in the amount of salt water in the Comté river, which also suffers from high levels of pollution. In addition, breakdowns in the supply infrastructure have become ever more frequent due to the ageing of the equipment and the high demand placed upon it at certain times.

These factors led the local authorities to consider building a new drinking water production plant, eventually deciding on the Kourou river as the location for it.


Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Drinking water production plant in Matiti” is EUR 54 664 810, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 9 500 000 through the “French Guiana” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.


Draft date

24/03/2017