Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sihanoukville short of fresh water

Sihanoukville short of fresh water

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A man pumps water at the fresh water reservoir Boeung Prek Tup in Preah Sihanouk province. Pha Lina

Sihanoukville short of fresh water

Villagers and local freshwater vendors on Thursday expressed concern about fresh water supply in Preah Sihanouk province, after a private company partially filled fresh water reservoir Boeung Prek Tup with sand for tourist development.

Boeung Prek Tup is a natural lake located in Sihanoukville’s Village 1, Commune 3, and was used as a reservoir supplying fresh water to the city’s residents.

Khim Samnang, a villager and freshwater vendor from the city’s Commune 3, told The Post his business of transporting and selling fresh water in the province has been ruined.

“People don’t want to purchase the water from Boeung Prek Tup anymore because it has become saltier. Even hotels that used to buy water from me to wash their dishes don’t want to buy it anymore because they are afraid the salt water will ruin their dishes,” he said.

Samnang explained that the lake’s water became saltier once it was filled with sand extracted from the sea for the development.

“The water was never salty. But now, after the lake was filled with sand, the water became salty. When the water was distributed to the villages, people started to complain that it is too salty to consume,” he said.

Sim Darak, a fellow resident of Commune 3, said that villagers no longer know where to get their fresh water supply from.

“The fresh water supplied by the government does not come regularly. Some days the water comes, the next day it does not. Freshwater from Boeung Prek Tup cannot be used anymore, so I don’t know where to get fresh water,” he said.

Preah Sihanouk provincial hall spokesperson Or Saroeun confirmed that the area has been transformed into a tourist destination by a private company that has been permitted to develop the area.

“We cannot use Boeung Prek Tup to supply fresh water anymore because the population has gone up drastically. Experts at the national and provincial level decided not to use Boeung Prek Tup to supply water to the province anymore,” he said.

Saroeun said that town planning experts and Anco Water Supply Co Ltd – a private company in charge of distributing water in the Kbal Chhay area – are determined to provide a reliable source of fresh water to the affected villages by Khmer New Year.

“We noticed that some hotels and private companies have their own ways of getting access to fresh water such as digging their own wells or buying water from the outside,” he said, adding that if people have water issues they can talk to the provincial authority who will address the problem immediately.

Cheap Sotheary, the provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said fresh water supply was a growing issue due to Sihanoukville’s many new high-rise buildings and rapid population growth.

“The freshwater shortage occurred long ago. We’ve observed that many people and private companies have started digging their own wells for fresh water to combat the issue,” she said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Draft law on state of emergency pending finalisation

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will lead a top-level meeting on Tuesdays to review the draft law on imposing a state of emergency. Meantime, he has decided to close all casinos in Cambodia effective April 1. In the press conference after the National Assembly met today, Hun

  • Stranded passengers petition UK for help

    Some 10,521 foreigners in Cambodia, the bulk being from the UK, have signed an online petition calling on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and relevant officials to fly them out of the Kingdom. The petition is targeted at 15,000 foreigners. Among them are nearly 200 Europeans, the majority

  • State of emergency on table amid pandemic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, his deputy prime ministers and legal team will meet on Tuesday to review the draft law on declaring a state of emergency, as Covid-19 cases rose to 107 in the Kingdom on Monday. Speaking at a press conference after a parliament meeting

  • Covid-19 Pandemic: Force majeure and legal consequences

    Is the Covid-19 pandemic considered an event of force majeure? The World Health Organisation declared the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak a pandemic on March 11. Following this declaration, the Ministry of Health and other ministries have taken various legal and administrative measures to prevent the rapid

  • PM set to mend ties with US

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has responded to US Congressman Ted Yoho, saying he is ready to improve Cambodia-US relations, and not take up issues of disagreements which have become a barrier between the two countries’ bilateral cooperation. His response to Yoho came after the congressman

  • Mysterious century-old structure found at bottom of Angkor pond

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has discovered a mysterious 1,000-year-old structure of a wooden building at the bottom of a pond after the Angkor Wat temple’s conservation team completed restoring its northern cave. The deputy director at ANA’s Angkor International Research and Documentation