City planners are studying flood solutions for some areas of the capital that flood during heavy rains.
Environmentalists said the reason behind flooding in some areas is due to the removal of natural reservoirs in the past few years.
Addressing district governors and 40 other department directors at the Council of Ministers on Tuesday, Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng said: “I call on experts to rigorously study each canal in the city that can handle 50mm of rain per second.
“This is an important point and I want people to understand that we can ensure less than 50mm but if the rain is more than 50mm, we cannot. Even Bangkok would be flooded.”
The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration is concerned about the western part of Phnom Penh. Despite a lack of rain the area faces flooding. He said the city could create a new master canal to release water.
“We are urging our experts to learn more about the issue of flooding in the West. We have also tasked the director of the Water Resources and Public Works departments, including the Kambol and Por Sen Chey district offices to study diverting water from Ang Snuol district to the Prek Tnout river.
“There must also be a carnal to Boeung Tamok (lake) to reduce the flow of water from hitting our capital,” Sreng said.
Environmental expert Hem Oudam told The Post on Tuesday that the issue of flooding in Phnom Penh is not new. In addition to climate change concerns, lakes around Phnom Penh have been removed over the years, causing the city to flood even if there is just a little rain.
Oudam is concerned that city officials will have a problem. “This [municipal] institution must work in collaboration with related parties, especially the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology and the Ministry of Environment.
“Solving flood problems requires participation from all of us. Continuing to remove natural reservoirs and climate change are factors that cause flooding, which is not a new thing.
“The amount of water can be more than before. The flood problem can be related to city management and how well we are keeping our natural reservoirs,” he said.
Oudam said he believes that to manage the city wisely, leaders must follow the old city blueprint and not new development plans, which he says conflict.