The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology is studying a location in Kampong Speu province’s Oral district to build a new reservoir that will prevent flooding and mitigate deforestation.
Provincial governor Vei Samnang told The Post on January 26 that authorities had presented the suggested location, which sits between Raksmey Samaki and Tasal communes in Oral district, to the ministry and the project developer so that they could make the final decision on whether or not to build a new reservoir.
“The location was met with 100 per cent support from authorities. The residents are happy with this project. It was carefully assessed by the ministry, and once they were satisfied they called our authorities for a final inspection,” he said.
He added that across the Kampong Speu province, there are currently a total of 374 water sources, including reservoirs, dams and canals. With the capacity to store a large amount of water, the reservoir will prove highly beneficial to local residents.
Should the reservoir be built, it will also help to alleviate the flash flooding that has long afflicted Kampong Speu and other provinces along the Prek Tnaot River, including Phnom Penh, and mitigate the damage to property and infrastructure.
Samnang said that Speu has three districts – Oral, Samrong Tong and Phnom Sruoch – in which water flows in just one direction, causing the lower parts to flood because the province lacks a dam.
“We will prevent the river from overflowing by building this dam near the river basin. When the rain comes and floods that area, we will have a reservoir that we can open according to our needs. This will enable us to avert flooding quickly,” he added.
Kampong Speu only has a small amount of irrigated agriculture, but it is an industrial area that requires a significant amount of water. In addition to preventing flooding in the capital and Kandal and Takeo provinces, this new reservoir will also help in reducing deforestation as the dam will block access to loggers, Samnang said.
“Once the reservoir is built, it will protect the forests and wildlife around it because we will build it at the point of a ravine and block offenders from going in to steal timber,” he said.
Kampong Speu provincial water resources department director Nhanh Cheab Horng said on January 26 that senior officials from the ministry and the project owner had visited the site on January 25 to study the size of the project. No other decision had made.
“The donors have not yet said what the decision will be as they are still studying its potential and priorities. They are also taking care to study its impact on the environment and society,” he added.
Ministry spokesman Chan Yutha said on January 26 that following inspection of the site, the location was found by the ministry to be suitable for the construction because it would not pose an environmental threat.
Surrounded by mountains, the reservoir could be constructed by building dams of around 500m that connected one mountain to another, said Yutha.
He added that from January 27 onwards, relevant ministries and institutions will begin discussions with a French development agency to further plan details of this work.
Yutha said if the reservoir is built on the surface of 5.7 to 5.8sq km, it could store about 110 million cubic meters of water, but if built on 13sq km, it could store 220 to 230 million.