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Banteay Meanchey farmers win out in battle over reservoir

Workers excavate land to release water from a reservoir in Banteay Meanchey’s Malai district earlier this week. Photo supplied
Workers excavate land to release water from a reservoir in Banteay Meanchey’s Malai district earlier this week. Photo supplied

Banteay Meanchey farmers win out in battle over reservoir

A dispute that erupted on Tuesday in Banteay Meanchey province after a group of farmers opened the dam to a reservoir that supplies Poipet town so they could water their crops has been resolved, the parties said yesterday.

Thirty farmers living in Malai district’s Toul Pongro commune and staffers of the Model Farming Park – a joint effort between Banteay Meanchey and Yunan province in China – opened the dam to allow water to flow into their more than 60 hectares of rice fields. The reservoir provides clean water to an estimated 70,000 families.

“We just need a little water for watering our rice and crops, which are expected to be harvested late next month,” said Hun Chea, 45, a farmer’s representative in Tuol Pong Ror commune’s Santepheap village.

But opening the dam was “terrible”, as Poipet residents could face a water shortage in the near future, said Bin Yory, technical director of clean water at the Anco Company.

The for-profit firm, which supplies clean water to both the town and the Banteay Meanchey provincial water resources department, had tried to stop the farmers, leading to an argument. But a compromise to let the water flow for three days was reached on Wednesday.

The provincial water resources department helped build the dam last year. Seang Vanseth of the Banteay Meanchey provincial Agriculture Department yesterday argued that the farmers needed only a little water to sustain their crops.

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