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Kampot dam alerts of possible flooding

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Kampot province’s Kamchay dam seen releasing water in 2011. Pha Lina

Kampot dam alerts of possible flooding

The Kamchay Hydroelectric Company has alerted the public and relevant authorities in Kampot province to take extra precautions for possible flooding.

It said this might suddenly occur when the company decides to open the spill gates when the dam’s water level reaches a critical point.

Teuk Chhou district police chief of staff Chhun Chheun told The Post that because the area has experienced heavy rains for several days straight, the Sinohydro Kamchay Hydroelectric Project Co Ltd on Wednesday issued the emergency announcement about the imminent opening of the spillway to run water out of the reservoir.

The announcement said water from the mountain and other streams into the reservoir was flowing at a rate of 1,450 cubic metres per second, steadily raising the water level.

Chheun said by Wednesday the water level reached 146.7 metres – just short of the 148.5- metre alert threshold that would trigger the spillway opening.

“The company had declared that it would open the spillway at 5pm on Wednesday, but as of 3pm on Thursday, it hadn’t done so.

“However, people living along creeks, canals and other water systems located in low areas around the hydroelectric dam have already been preparing for the impact,” he said.

Chheun said when the company does open the spillway, four communes located near the dam – Mak Brang, Kampong Kreng, Prey Khmum and Stung Keo – will face flooding issues.

Andong Chi Meun village chief Pen Len told The Post that while monitoring the situation with Stung Keo and Kampong Kreng commune police it was raining continuously. He said people in his village were preparing their crops and land, and securing important items.

“However, people are still worried that flooding might damage their crops and that they will face bigger problems if the flooding continues for a long time,” Len said.

Mines and Energy Department provincial director Som Vichet said he and dam experts were discussing the technicalities of opening the spillway with company officials to ensure that flooding doesn’t occur like it did last year.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology warned people that rain will continue to fall in coastal areas while it will decline in Phnom Penh, Kandal and Kampong Speu provinces.

Kratie and Stung Treng provinces, located near the lower Mekong River Basin, will be hit by heavy rains, it said.

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