Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said at the start of the restoration of five canals in Preah Sihanouk province on Monday that the work had to be completed in three months to avoid further flooding.
A report by the Ministry of Public Works and Transport said that the restoration of the five canals, which span 25km, was projected to cost 10 billion riel ($2.5 million).
The report added that last year, the province had released up to 25,000 cubic metres of wastewater a day. This was predicted to reach 47,000 cubic metres a day by 2023 and 64,000 cubic metres a day by 2030.
Chanthol said the province had experienced severe flooding this year that had badly damaged road infrastructure, which was costly for the government to repair.
“If we don’t restore the canals, we are concerned that there will again be severe flooding. Hundreds of millions of dollars would have to be spent on restoring roads,” he said.
He said he would inform Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction Chea Sophara that the working group had said the restoration of the canals would take a maximum of three months to complete.
“This is if [the restoration work] doesn’t encounter problems,” Chanthol added.
Chanthol said the restoration of the canals was part of a master plan to upgrade the province’s wastewater and flooding systems.
He said a 150km sewage system would be built in the near future when the master plan had been fully studied.
Provincial governor Kouch Chamroeun said at the opening of the restoration that the national policy committee had used $2 million from the government to develop road infrastructure and restore canals in the province.
“In the previous rainy season, serious flooding claimed the lives of three residents and damaged properties,” he said.
Chamroeun stressed that the geography of Preah Sihanouk province had changed.
“Over the last few years, due to rapid development, the landscape has been transformed. Construction had led to canals being filled in, which resulted in flooding.
“We have lost places to receive rainwater. So to solve the problem, we have to restore the canals,” he said.