A Kampong Speu community is looking to raise money to build three watering holes for wildlife, especially the endangered banteng, for the upcoming hot season after a nearby sugarcane plantation allegedly filled in existing streams.
The Prambei community in the province’s Thpong district launched a campaign on Monday to raise $4,500 to build three ponds after villagers alleged that tenants of the controversial sugar company, Phnom Penh Sugar, filled close to 50 natural streams, reducing watering options for wildlife. “In the sugarcane plantation, they filled it all, and that leads to the lack of water,” said Soeun Lay, head of the community. “It is then hard for the animals to survive.”
Phnom Penh Sugar’s director, Seng Nhak, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Provincial Governor Keav Leangkea, however, denied that the company had filled the streams, attributing the water scarcity solely to last year’s drought.
“With regards to filling the river, we have inspected it, but it seems not to be filled. The company also wants the water for the sugarcane,” he said.
Liv Sarum, another community member, said more than 700 families were attempting to raise the money and had so far raised $300 from a group of students. He added that the filling of the streams had compounded the effects of the drought.
“Last year, there was no water. In the past, there was enough water, but now [the former stream] has become the sugarcane plantation.”