Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kampot dam restoration halted

Kampot dam restoration halted

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Excavators are seen at the disputed site in Kampong Trach Kaang Lech commune of Kampot‘s Kampong Trach district. Koh Santepheap Daily

Kampot dam restoration halted

Kampong Trach district authorities in Kampot province have ordered a temporary halt to the excavation of the O’Chro Neang dam and its reservoir in Kampong Trach Kaang Lech commune after protests by local villagers on March 21.

Officials said the dam restoration was important because its reservoir would dry up completely in the dry season and then flood in the rainy season.

Villagers, however, alleged that the excavation was being done for business purposes and that it had created a large hole in land they use to grow crops.

“We have 25ha of land on the dam for growing crops. We request that the authorities determine the boundaries clearly because the machinery excavating the land seems to be out of control,” said Men Sopheap, a 37-year-old resident of Kampong Trach commune’s Village II.

Son Trey, 52, another resident from Doeum Char village, said the machinery was not excavating at any place in particular but was digging out some parts randomly.

“No one has a legal title to the land in the area of the dam, but the villagers here have occupied it going all the way back to their ancestors,” he said.

Commune chief Chen Tann said the restoration began after discussions at commune and district levels.

“The district and commune councils concluded that if we don’t restore this dam then we won’t have enough water to use. It has been flooding in the rainy season and it dries up in the dry season.

“We can’t wait for the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology to do it because it doesn’t have any money in its budget for the work.

“So, we decided to let a private company do it and they will sell the soil they dig out in exchange for the restoration of the dam to where it is able to store water for the villagers to use,” he said.

However, he said that because there were people protesting against the restoration, the authorities had decided to temporarily stop the excavation and wait for a decision from the upper levels.

Yun Phally, Kep-Kampot provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said if the work was being done by the water resources ministry, a clear plan would be in place to demarcate where to dig to restore the dam to where it could store more water.

However, he said it would still be a good thing if the local authorities were able to dig the reservoir deeper to ensure water storage for the dry season and that the local residents should trust the authorities to do what is necessary to restore the functioning of the dam and its reservoir.

“We must allow the state to develop or restore the reservoirs and canals,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the

  • S’ville set to turn into ‘second Shenzhen’

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance has awarded a master plan consultancy contract to top Chinese institute for the development and transformation of Preah Sihanouk province into a “Model Multi-Purpose Special Economic Zone”, Southeast Asia’s next logistics and resort hub and innovation centre. The