The Preah Sihanouk provincial department of public works and transport has begun digging shallow streams and canals in Boeng Prek Tub, O’Sdach Meuk and in the area around the 16-hectare wastewater treatment plant in Sihanoukville in order allow for faster release of rainwater to prevent floods.

Preah Sihanouk provincial hall spokesman Kheang Phearom told The Post on September 13 that the provincial administration and the department of public works and transport regularly dig-out shallow canals and pick up rubbish and waste from the canals to make the rainwater flow faster.

He said that when it rains, the rainwater brings along waste and rubbish which builds up and makes the canals shallow. The provincial administration has studied the possibility of opening new canals near the water treatment plant to help the water flow faster.

“We have further improvements we can make with digging canals and what the department of public works and transport does every day is part of a project that is yet to be completed,” he said.

Phearom said that although officials are carrying out the project to improve the drainage system, rain-induced floods can still take place in Cambodia just as they do in other countries around the world. The digging of the canals will help to avoid prolonged flooding.

Sok Sokhom, the director of the Cambodian National Research Organisation in Preah Sihanouk province said that the digging of the canals was very important because Sihanoukville had different drainage requirements than it did previously because the city is currently developing infrastructure and under construction with numerous projects funded by foreign investors.

He added that this period of heavy development had congested the drainage systems and canals and made them shallow and they needed to be dug out and widened to increase water flow and avoid flooding, which will damage people’s property and could even threaten lives.

“When it floods, the water flows into people’s houses and it causes damage to their property and then the structure of their houses becomes dilapidated and prone to collapse,” he said.

Preah Sihanouk province suffered from heavy flooding in August of this year. A large number of low-lying areas and houses were flooded and one person was killed.