Pursat provincial authorities and Steung Pursat Hydro Power (SPHP) will set up a technical working group to address compensation and public infrastructure investment for residents affected by the Stung Pursat I Hydropower project in Veal Veng district.

Khut Usophea, the head of the administration hall, told The Post on Thursday that the process of addressing compensation will start next month.

“For now, our working group is preparing to update statistics of residents who are affected by this hydropower project and looking for favourable locations for growing agricultural crops for families who will be displaced,” he said.

SPHP CEO Kim Myung-il said the company has invested over $232 million in the project, which is expected to generate 80MW of power. The company has also set aside $8.7 million for environment protection measures and will spend $826,480 in environmental and social funds per year for 35 years of its operations.

According to a 2018 report by SAWAC Consultants for Development, the project will affect over 6,007ha of forest land, over 850ha of jungle and 4,291ha of brushwood. It also affects over 932ha of agricultural land, and over 38ha of houses occupied by 347 families.

Veal Veng district governor Seng Sopheana told The Post on Thursday that of the 347 families, only 120 could face displacement because their land and houses are located in the area of the construction project.

“Our authorities are looking for new locations for the affected families,” he said.

Sopheana said villagers are interested in locations in the district’s Pramuoy commune. The locations are easy for developing roads, water, and electricity.

SAWAC estimated that compensation and other payments for the 347 families would be $6.8 million, including building new homes for 128 families.

Cambodia currently has seven hydropower plants. They are the Stung Tatai hydropower dam, the Stung Russey Chrum Krom hydropower dam, the Kamchay hydropower dam, the Kirirom I hydroelectric dam, the Kirirom III hydropower dam, the Tatai Hydropower dam and the Lower Sesan II hydropower dam.