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The water level runs low at a reservoir in Koh Kong last week
The water level runs low at a reservoir in Koh Kong last week. The province, which has been gripped by drought, may have as little as a week’s supply of water. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Villagers await water

Hundreds of families in Koh Kong province have since early May been affected by drought and a lack of clean water, which is supposed to be provided by tycoon and ruling party senator Ly Yong Phat.

Due to the annual drought in the province, two reservoirs operated by Yong Phat’s LYP Group have run dry, and locals complain of itchy skin and additional expenses for clean drinking water.

LYP Group said in a letter to the provincial water authority on Thursday that it had suspended operations until “the water level in the reservoirs climbs, in order to produce clean water normally again”.

Poy Seurn, a village chief in Smach Meanchey district’s Dang Tong commune, said yesterday that, over the past two weeks, the supply of treated water has not been able to match the demand.

“Children in my village, including my children, got itchy skin after using the water. We additionally need to spend 2,000 riel per day for 20 litres of clean water to drink and cook,” he said.

Lem Uy, a villager from Dang Tong’s Khemarak Phomen town, said provincial water shortages happen every year, but few if any measures seem to have been taken.

“If the company extends the size of the reservoirs, this problem will not occur. The company seems to be ignorant of this problem. The provincial authorities and all involved departments should review the company’s capabilities and try to find another partner in order to guarantee the clean water supply for the whole province,” he said.

Klem Koki, provincial director of the Ministry of Industry and Handicrafts, said he had identified a new water source, which could solve the problem if exploited.

“According to experts’ personal inspection, the water in the reservoirs will dry out in a week if the hot climate keeps lasting,” he added.

Chhum Ratanak, director of Koh Kong’s water authority, declined to comment, and LYP Group could not be reached.

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