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

  • US imposes sanctions on Oknha Pheap and Kun Kim

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation expressed strong dismay on Monday over the designation of Cambodian tycoon Oknha Try Pheap and General Kun Kim under the US’ Global Magnitsky Act. “It is very disturbing when the public figures of a country become the

  • Mother, daughter killed in hotel fire

    The bodies of a mother and daughter were found locked in an embrace after they were killed in a hotel fire in Phnom Penh at around 3:30am on Wednesday at the Phkar Chhouk Tep 2 Hotel and Restaurant in Phsar Doeum Kor commune, in the capital’

  • EBA withdrawal a destruction of EU achievements, PM says

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the EU’s possible suspension of its Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement amounted to a destruction of its achievements in the Kingdom and the demise of the opposition group. Hun Sen made the remarks while addressing more than 6,700 students during

  • Rights Day forum denied in Sihanoukville

    The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration last Saturday denied the request of land communities for a public location in the province to celebrate International Human Rights Day 2019 as the administration had already held forums to discuss land issues. However, the land community representatives said they would

  • US told to refrain from interfering in Sokha case

    Senior Cambodian officials said on Thursday that the US can monitor Kem Sokha’s trial as it wishes but would not be allowed to interfere in court procedures. The point was made in response to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s comments on Wednesday

  • Sri Lanka’s LOLC Holdings plans to sell Cambodian unit

    LOLC Holdings Plc, Sri Lanka’s second-largest publicly traded company by revenue, plans to sell its 70 per cent stake in Prasac Microfinance Institution Ltd, which also counts Hong Kong’s Bank of East Asia Ltd. as a shareholder, LOLC deputy chairman Ishara Nanayakkara said. Nanayakkara