Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Angkor Wat moat drying ‘could affect foundations’

Angkor Wat moat drying ‘could affect foundations’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Angkor Wat moat has so far lost more than 10,000 cubic metres of water in the drought, says Phoeun Sokhim, the deputy director of the Department of Water Management at the Apsara Authority.APSARA AUTHORITY

Angkor Wat moat drying ‘could affect foundations’

A historian has raised fears that the drought currently gripping Cambodia could affect the foundations of the Kingdom's globally renowned Angkor Wat, while the temple complex's Apsara Authority management has said that, while it was prepared, it was not expecting such a problem.

Diep Sophal, a professor of history at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, said if the water in Angkor Wat's iconic moat was to dry out to such a degree that the temple's foundations were exposed, the resulting natural degradation could lead to the building's structural integrity being compromised.

He also expressed concern that the loss of the moat would discourage tourists from visiting the Unesco World Heritage Site.

“Scientists have discovered that Angkor Wat stands solidly due to its sandstone construction and the sandstone in its foundations beneath the moat. According to scientists, if the moat dries out, the foundations being exposed must surely be problematic,” Sophal said.

However, he said he expected the Apsara Authority would monitor the situation to avoid such an issue.

Phoeun Sokhim, the deputy director of the Department of Water Management at the Apsara Authority, on Friday said the Angkor Wat moat had so far lost more than 10,000 cubic metres of water in the drought.

“The dry season this year is compounded by the El Nino phenomenon, making the weather so hot that lots of water has been lost to evaporation."

“Although the water evaporation is on a large scale, it has not affected the amount of water in the Angkor Wat moat because it is able to store more than one million cubic metres,” Sokhim said.

The Apsara Authority restored the ancient water system from the Tonle Om river in the archaeological park to Angkor Thom and then the 4km to Angkor Wat, he said.

“This means water in the moat of the Angkor Wat temple remains balanced without drying out, maintaining the beauty of the site.”

Apsara Authority spokesman Long Kosal on Sunday said that even though water evaporation was currently high, it would not create problems for Angkor Wat as its moat could store millions of cubic metres of water.

“The Apsara Authority is also regularly cooperating with the Siem Reap Water Supply Authority to manage water. We are not worried about this because we have solutions to fully address any challenges. We have not ignored the issue,” Kosal said.

The West Baray reservoir in the Angkor Archaeological Park can store some 56 million cubic metres of water and the North Baray some five million, he said, while there were millions more cubic metres in the Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom moats.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior

  • Bullets to bracelets: Siem Reap man makes waste from war wearable

    Jewellery is often made from valuable gemstones like emeralds or diamonds and precious metals like gold or silver, or valueless things like animal horns. But a man in Siem Reap has approached the manufacture of delicate pieces from a different angle. His unique form of

  • 61% of 2022 imports came from just 3 markets

    The three largest exporters to Cambodia – mainland China, Vietnam and Thailand – accounted for 60.94 per cent of the Kingdom’s total merchandise imports last year, at $18.245 billion, which was up 11.99 per cent over 2021, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise. Cambodia’s total imports