Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Water Festival cash buys fuel for pumping stations

Water Festival cash buys fuel for pumping stations

People visit stalls during last year's Water Festival in Phnom Penh.
People visit stalls during last year's Water Festival in Phnom Penh. Vireak Mai

Water Festival cash buys fuel for pumping stations

Cash earmarked for the now-cancelled Water Festival has been used to buy 60,000 litres of extra fuel to run pumping stations and bolster drought-stricken reservoirs ahead of dry season, a government official said yesterday.

Spokesman for the Ministry of Water Resources Chan Yutha said the fuel, bought from Sokimex, would be distributed to about 300 pumps and pumping stations in 14 provinces, with Kandal, Tbong Khmum, Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom and Kampong Chhnang identified as priorities.

“In a regular year, we use around 1.5 million litres of fuel, this is a special additional [purchase],” Yutha said.

“This water collection is for the dry season. As you know, the Mekong River is very low this year; only 7 metres at Bassac Chaktomuk [the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap] . . . it’s more than 3 metres lower than last year.”

Yutha said he did not know the fuel’s cost or what percentage of the Water Festival’s total budget had been reallocated.

Prime Minster Hun Sen called off the popular event – which draws hundreds of thousands of people to Phnom Penh – late last month, saying water levels in the Tonle Bassac were too low for the traditional boat races to go ahead.

Pundits, however, have suggested the true reason was to stop the opposition from potentially mobilising supporters during the mass influx into the capital amid political tension following the beating of two Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmakers outside parliament.

Though the races are cancelled, some festivities will still take place.

MOST VIEWED

  • EU parliament’s 13-point vote to decide on possible sanctions

    The European Parliament is due to vote on Thursday on a 13-point resolution on Cambodia – which includes a call for the treason charges against bailed opposition leader Kem Sokha to be dropped – a threat that could see the EU enforce a range of sanctions against

  • Government hits back at threats to pull EBA, suspend UN seat

    The spokesman for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has said the government is in no way concerned after the European Parliament gave it three months to reverse what it called the “systematic repression of the political opposition”. Ignoring the ultimatum could mean facing

  • Sar Kheng: Sokha requested security

    Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Sunday revealed the story behind the transfer of former opposition party leader Kem Sokha from Trapaing Phlong prison in Tbong Khmum province to his house in the capital. Speaking at the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) headquarters in Prey

  • Chinese influx pushing locals, Westerners out of Preah Sihanouk

    Some within the Kingdom’s tourism industry have speculated that the recent influx of Chinese visitors may hinder domestic tourism as the price of accommodations in the coastal city of Sihanoukville continues to rise. Preah Sihanouk province, which has become a hotbed for Chinese investment