WHENEVER an international journalist comes to town, it seems the mandatory story to write is that the iconic temples are in danger of tumbling because too many tourists are using too much water causing the groundwater to decrease, thus undermining the foundations of the huge ancient structures.
On September 27 The Guardian entered the fray, declaring that water used by Siem Reap hotels “is being sucked from groundwater under the city, threatening the stability” of the temples.
The piece as usual was large on conjecture, light on fact. Granted, Peou Hang, the deputy director of water management for Apsara did say that if the groundwater goes down there will be a problem. But he added: “The problem is not yet happening.”
So is Siem Reap’s groundwater table shrinking?
Not according to a report lodged by the University of Tokyo’s Department of Environment Systems during June’s Technical Session of the International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor.
The report said, in part, that preliminary results on the groundwater-surface water relationship at Siem Reap “suggests that the overall water table distribution did not change much from 1999 to present”.
And, of course, the period from about 2001 until now in Siem Reap has seen one of the greatest surges in modern tourism history.
DRESSED FOR GOLF
AUSTRALIA’s dapper golf legend Rodger Davis, famous for his spiffy plus-fours, has been in town this week competing in the Victoria Angkor Pro Am at the Angkor Golf Resort, where the greens have been alive with the sound of raucous Aussie accents.
The Pro Am attracted 59 golfers from Australia. It concludes today after having
got off to a dramatic start with the second day’s play delayed due to flash flooding in Siem Reap which left part of the course underwater.
GROUNDS FOR ACCLAIM
HOTEL de la Paix’s resident barista Sambatheany is the only entrant from Siem Reap to compete in Cambodia’s prestigious National Barista Championships, part of the much anticipated International Hospitality and Food Service Show 2010.
This showdown will be held next weekend at the newly constructed Diamond Island Convention and Exhibition Centre in Phnom Penh.
The National Barista Championships will see top local baristas and bean grinders showcase their wealth of coffee knowledge and celebrate Cambodia’s flourishing food and drinks scene.
No Nescafé 3-in-1 will be allowed.