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Crackdown on hotels using groundwater

Siem Reap’s new governor Kim Bun Song said authorities will crack down on hotels that still tap into groundwater reserves, noting that some big hotels in Siem Reap consume too much groundwater, especially in the dry season.

“We are now suggesting that companies and hotels use clean water to replace the use of ground water in Siem Reap City,” he said. “We would like to reduce the groundwater demand and we will do it from now on.

“We are concerned that the growing demand for water from underground supplies will affect the foundations of ancient temples in the province, especially the Angkor Wat Temple.”

He added that the demand on the groundwater could cause a loss of balance between the earth layers and aquifers, which then may result in quakes that might seriously affect Cambodia’s rich cultural heritage. Siem Reap Water Supply Authority deputy director Soum Kounthea told Insider on Tuesday that the demand for groundwater by residents and hotels that didn’t use the water supply service is about 20,000 cubic metres per day.

“According to our survey we know that the ground water is used by big hotels and residents. It is too much and we won’t let them destroy the groundwater system,” he said. “I asked some hotels about this, but they never tell me the truth.”

The problem is also exacerbated because the Siem Reap Water Supply Authority cannot produce enough water for all of Siem Reap city’s demand, hence forcing some residents and hotels to continue using groundwater.

The deputy general director of Siem Reap’s Water Supply Authority, Chan Seng La, told Insider previously that the domestic and commercial customer demand is now 25,000 to 30,000 cubic metres per day, and Siem Reap Water Supply Authority produces only 20, 000 cubic metres daily.

This week he said, “We also use groundwater to fulfill resident demand, but it will not affect Angkor Wat because we draw groundwater only near Baray Resort.” He noted that the Siem Reap Water Supply Authority has eight groundwater checking systems to make sure drawing groundwater will not harm temples.

Governor Kim Bun Song also noted that a new water treatment plant will help decrease the demand on groundwater next month.

The water treatment plan, funded by Japan, will be launched in August near Baray Resort and it will produce 5,000 cubic metres of water daily..

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