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Government plans to reduce flooding

Government plans to reduce flooding

130311 05
Residents make their way through a flooded neighbourhood in Niroth commune, in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district, in 2012. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

The government has announced plans for a landmark project to create a system for diverting and then stocking waste water, in a bid to prevent run-off into the streets of Phnom Penh and the Tonle Sap river.

Moeung Sophan, a consultant to the Phnom Penh Department of Public Works and Transportation, said the project is in its early stages, and though it is getting under way this year, he could not say when it would be completed.

 “The government has created a master plan for building a waste water-stocking station, just as in developed countries, that we call a ‘separate system’ to avoiding flooding from rain and pollution in the river. It will be the first such system for Cambodia,” he said.  

“With heavy rains and increasing population, there is waste water every day,” he added. “It causes floods and environmental pollution. It will affect the fish, too.”

Funding for the project is coming from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, he said, which is already assisting with flood protection and drainage in the capital. JICA has committed $26 million to build drainage pipes in eight main areas of the city, at a total length of 20,646 metres.

The “separate system” would reduce the time for a flood to subside and keep contaminated waste water out of the city’s natural waterways, he said. Srey Thoch, a resident living near Kandal market, said every year when the rain comes, the streets flood.  

“It’’s difficult for traveling and  affects our business,” she said.

Men Sophen, deputy director of the Municipality’s drainage unit, said that part of problem with drainage flow is the trash thrown into sewers.

“We appeal to the residents to keep trash in a trash bin,” he said. “We collect two cubic metres of trash in a pipe every day, and during the rainy season, it’s six cubic metres.”

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