Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Clean water shortage at Sesan



Clean water shortage at Sesan

One of the four ponds used by Kbal Romeas villagers to collect their daily water in Stung Treng province. Photo supplied
One of the four ponds used by Kbal Romeas villagers to collect their daily water in Stung Treng province. Photo supplied

Clean water shortage at Sesan

Even as floodwaters pour into their villages and encroach upon their resettlement sites, villagers displaced by the controversial Lower Sesan II Dam in Stung Treng province say they are now facing shortages of potable water.

Community representative Lat Vibol said the 252 villagers from the Kbal Romeas indigenous community, which refused to relocate to government resettlement sites from their land in the flood zone of the Hydro Power Lower Sesan 2 Co Ltd project – partly owned by tycoon Kith Meng – are running out of drinking water after two of the four natural ponds in their informal resettlement area dried up last month.

“We are worrying about the water shortage because the last two ponds are almost dried out,” Vibol said. “It is available for only one more week.”

According to Vibol, villagers got their water from the Srepok River before the dam closed, but that water source – along with their village – has been submerged by floodwaters from the dam since October. The villagers do not dare consume the floodwaters, Vibol said.

“The water is stagnant and not clear,” he said. “In some places, it smells bad. It does not flow naturally anymore. The grass, plants and animals died and decayed in the water.”

In addition to displacing thousands of indigenous villagers, environmental experts have raised alarm over the project’s detrimental impact on the Mekong River’s annual flood cycle and fish migration patterns.

Another informal settlement of more than 60 people from neighbouring Srekor village is also starting to run out of water, according to community representative Fut Kheoun.

About 20 percent of people on the unofficial settlement site live close to a water source, Kheoun said, but the rest have to transport water from about 7 kilometres away, or spend between $150 and $250 to dig new wells.

Villagers at the formal resettlement site are spending 25,000 riel (about $6.25) per 3,000 litres of clean drinking water from a local supplier, as the water provided by authorities and the company is only safe for bathing, according to former Srekor Commune Chief Siek Mekong.

Stung Treng Provincial Hall spokesman Men Kong said provincial authorities met last week to discuss water shortages and other issues faced by the displaced communities.

Kong said a team would begin investigating the water supply at both formal and informal resettlement sites in the next few days, and would again offer compensation to those who resettled on their own.

The provincial government previously offered all villagers living in what is now the dam’s reservoir a compensation package of $6,000 per family or 5 hectares of land, including a new home.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Nine US franchises eye Cambodia debut

    Nine famous US franchising companies are looking for business opportunities and expansion into Cambodia to build a footstep for a strong foundation in Southeast Asia. The US embassy in Phnom Penh, in partnership with the US Foreign Commercial Service and with support from the American

  • Nearly 2,000 detained for Phnom Penh curfew breach

    Nearly 2,000 people were detained in the capital for violating the curfew imposed by the government and Phnom Penh Municipal Administration. Municipal police spokesman San Sokseyha told The Post on May 16 that people were detained in two phases. In phase one, the government locked down Phnom