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Lake-filling to worsen PP floods, report says

THE filling of Boeung Kak lake for a controversial housing and commercial development will increase the level of wet-season flooding in areas in the city’s north, according to a technical report presented at a public forum on Wednesday.

The Boeung Kak Area Drainage and Flooding Assessment, prepared by a team of Australian drainage engineers in 2008 and released in March, says the filling of the lake is set to eliminate a significant rain catchment area, and that the absence of this catchment could have “significant
impacts on property” in areas around the lake.

“While the lake is a closed system with little catchment contribution beyond the lake itself, the proposed development area is large enough to generate large volumes of run-off,” the report states.

The team of engineers, commissioned by local housing rights group Sahmakum Teang Tnaut, concluded that runoff from the development would overwhelm the poor drainage infrastructure in Russey Keo district to the north.

The presentation came amid a recent spate of disruptive floods in Russey Keo that many residents have blamed on the filling of the lake, which local developer Shukaku Inc commenced in August 2008.

Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema denied the filling had anything to do with the floods, saying a US$3.8 million drainage system – on which construction is to begin in the dry season – would cut floods.

“I implore the people not to make accusations about the filling of the lake. Opposition politicians are trying to provoke this problem and are doing nothing,” he said.

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