Authorities in Battambang province’s Ek Phnom district have been given permission to begin restoration of Takom Lake, a 10ha ancient lake located in the district’s Peam Ek commune.
The area will be redeveloped as a resort and reservoir to create jobs and serve local communities.
District governor Mil Sophal told The Post on December 3 that the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts decided in May this year to allow the restoration project. Three hectares of land adjacent the lake have been reserved for planting a garden of 2,000 trees of various types to promote local beautification and eco-tourism. The project is due to be completed early next year.
Sophal said the Takom Lake area, located near the Ek Phnom Krom temple and under the culture ministry’s management, contained an ancient lake that ran dry. Restoration is being funded by a development firm and work is now approximately 70 per cent complete.
“We have dug the bottom of the lake to 6m in depth. When the restoration work is finished, the lake will contain about 420,000 cubic metres of water usable by hundreds of local people living in the surrounding villages and other areas,” he said.
Provincial culture department director Kim Sophorn said the district administration initially requested to excavate to a depth of only 5m, and officials of the ministry’s General Department of Heritage have expressed concern at the discrepancy, requesting an environmental impact assessment to confirm that the nearby temple would not be adversely affected.
Culture ministry spokesman Long Ponna Sirivath said the restoration of the lake area is an environmental conservation project intended to confer benefits to the local people. As such, it should not affect other heritage sites, and the ministry will monitor the progress to ensure its safety.