Now's the time to invest in reservoirs

The water level runs low at a reservoir in Koh Kong province in 2014. Photo supplied
The water level runs low at a reservoir in Koh Kong province in 2014. Photo supplied

Now's the time to invest in reservoirs

Editor,

In the face of severe droughts, I think Cambodia should invest more in building reservoirs and digging ponds to store the annual flood water. The major costs are oil and excavators.

Oil prices are forecast to stay low in the next few years, a very good prospect for such ground work. Excavators and their spare parts still have room for better affordability and accessibility if government removes taxes on them.

In particular, I think relevant authorities should revisit the decision that led to the dismantling of many reservoirs in the Tonle Sap plains a few years ago. Without reservoirs these areas are simply dry and cracked from February to May.

With reservoirs, they become wetlands year round. It is not only good for the rice crop that farmers cultivate in the dry season using the captured flood, but it is also good for fish, birds and other livings things that depend on the reservoirs and wetlands.

Indeed, there may be complications with fisheries in the distant Tonle Sap Lake. Thus, I wish to see a scientific study conducted to assess the various pros and cons of building such reservoirs in the flood plains. It could be a very good option for climate change adaptation.

Chan Sophal
Director of Centre for Policy Studies
Phnom Penh

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