Water suppliers and the Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities are urging residents to be patient in the face of provincial water shortages. The second dam at Kbal Chhay collapsed on Saturday night, causing more than 3 million cubic metres of water to be lost.

Nam Kie Teng, general director of Anco Water Company, told The Post on January 8 that more than 10 metres of the second dam of Anco Kbal Chhay collapsed on the night of January 7, causing a leak of more than 3 million cubic metres of water and the failure of one of the pumps which transfers water from the reservoir to the water treatment plant. The outrushing water also damaged several power poles near the site.

“This has caused major disruptions to the provincial supply of clean water, especially in Sihanoukville. There may be a shortage of clean water for at least a week for those living on higher ground, or near the end of the water lines,” he said.

According to Kie Teng, the company has four reservoirs in the Kbal Chhay area. Two pumps serve the four reservoirs, and send water to a treatment plant in Sangkat 1, Sihanoukville. Each day, the plant can produce over 150,000 cubic metres of water, while demand is typically just 80,000.

The dam collapse, and damage to one of the two pumps, has lead to a reduction in the supply reaching the plant. This had affected the water supply in Sihanoukville, Prey Nop and Stung Hav districts.

“It may take up to a week to resolve the issue,” said Kie Teng.

He said engineers from his company are working with officials from the provincial Department of Public Works and Transport, the provincial electricity company and local authorities to repair the second dam. The team is also installing a new water pump in the third dam, in order to increase the volume of water than can be sent to the treatment plant.

Kuoch Chamroeun, governor of Preah Sihanouk province, called on the public to use water as sparingly as possible. He said the use of clean water to water grass and flower gardens should be temporarily halted to ensure the limited supply that is available is only used for essential purposes.

“As we work to repair the dam and install a second pump, I urge the public to restrict their use of clean water. Our current supply has been reduced by approximately 50 per cent, so please consider the needs of those who rely on it or their livelihoods,” he added.

He has assigned four teams to assist the company in repairing the damage. The first is working to reconnect the damaged power lines, while the second is recovering the damaged pump from the reservoir it fell into.

The third and fourth groups are expediting the installation of a new pump at the third reservoir, in order to restore the treatment plant’s supply as soon as possible.