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People check the water level of a reservoir in Kampong Cham’s Reay Pai commune earlier this month. Photo supplied
People check the water level of a reservoir in Kampong Cham’s Reay Pai commune earlier this month. Photo supplied

Water running out in Reay Pai

About 2,700 families in Kampong Cham province’s Reay Pai commune, where wells and ponds have almost dried up, could soon be left without any safe water.

Commune chief Heang Heap said yesterday such aridity was unheard of in the community.

“Every year, even in the hot season, there is no lack of water but this year, the ponds and wells are almost dry,” said Heap. “If no one takes action, the villagers will face a serious lack of water in the April ahead.”

The commune had 217 wells and would try to dig more but needed help from higher levels of government, Heap said.

The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology recently said Cambodia would have a “dry and hot” six months from December to May, with temperatures hitting 41 degrees, 1 degree higher than last year. Some provinces would face water shortages, the ministry predicted.

Bun Hean, a secretary of state at the ministry, expressed surprise at the news, saying Kampong Cham wasn’t known for water shortages. He encouraged villagers to hire private pumping and water trucking services.

Thim Narin, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said that some local wells were tainted with arsenic, further reducing the amount of safe water the villagers could use.

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