Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Reservoir destruction thwarted by rainfall

Reservoir destruction thwarted by rainfall

Reservoir destruction thwarted by rainfall

ENVIRONMENTAL officials say heavy rains may force them to postpone an ongoing effort to demolish manmade reservoirs that they claim are lowering water levels and disrupting local ecology.

Chan Youttha, secretary general of the Tonle Sap Authority, said Tuesday that excavators and other machinery used to dismantle the reservoirs had had difficulty accessing the sites through fields and roads soaked by recent rains. If the wet weather continues over the next few days, he added, the project will be delayed until the dry season begins in several months.

“Currently, we almost can’t move our machinery because of the massive rains and muddy roads,” Chan Youttha said. “We will temporarily stop demolishing the reservoirs until the next dry season, but we will continue to be vigilant about cracking down on any newly created illegal reservoirs.”

In April, Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the destruction of manmade reservoirs surrounding the Tonle Sap lake, saying that they posed a threat to fish stocks and coastal forest. The premier formalised this order earlier this month, issuing a directive calling for the demolition of reservoirs in six provinces with territory on the Tonle Sap floodplain: Kampong Thom, Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Pursat and Kampong Chhnang.

Since June 25, the Tonle Sap Authority has dismantled 30 of the Kingdom’s roughly 240 unauthorised reservoirs in an effort that has spanned all six provinces, Chan Youttha said yesterday.

Nao Thuok, director of the Fisheries Administration, said that even though full demolition of illegal reservoirs may not be possible during the rainy season, government officials should consider limited work to allow water to flow back into streams and the lake.

“We must target the reservoirs that are obstacles to fish movement and water flow,” Nao Thuok said. He added that water levels in the Tonle Sap lake had been measured at 3 metres lower than last year, and blamed this drop in part on the proliferation of reservoirs.

Some farmers, however, have bemoaned the demolition effort, saying that the reservoirs have increased rice yields and allowed them to harvest their crops in both the rainy and dry seasons.

In his directive this month, Hun Sen also ordered a halt to a range of activities that he said were harming the biodiversity of the lake, including the controlled burning of trees and slash-and-burn farming.

MOST VIEWED

  • Diplomatic passports issued to foreigners to be annulled

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will move to annul diplomatic passports issued to those not born in Cambodia. Analysts say the move may be in relation to reports that former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra used a Cambodian passport to register as

  • The hairy little heroes saving many lives in rural Cambodia

    IN RURAL Siem Reap province, rats dare to tread where no person will, as these hairy little heroes place their lives on the line each day for the good of the local community. The rodents are the most important members of a special team, leading

  • Hun Sen warns Irish MP of EBA ‘mistake’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday told former Irish premier Enda Kenny, still a member of the EU nation’s parliament, that the 28-nation bloc should not make a “third mistake” regarding Cambodia by using the preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement to “take 16 million

  • PM warns EU and opposition on 34th anniversary of his rule

    HUN Sen reached the milestone of 34 years as Cambodian prime minister on Monday and used the groundbreaking ceremony for a new ring road around Phnom Penh to tell the international community that putting sanctions on the Kingdom meant killing the opposition. “Please don’t forget