Friday, June 14, 2024

Selected Comments Samdech Moha Bovor Thipadei Hun Manet, the progress of flood/water management and irrigation project through/for Takeo, Kandal and Phnom Pen [Unofficial and translations]


(1) A Visit to three of eleven streams under restoration

I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who contributed to the successful construction of the flood diversion and irrigation system through/for Takeo, Kandal, and Phnom Penh. I inquired the chief (engineer) if he had prior experience in constructing a 7-kilometer concrete baseflow of the stream. He said no. This work has made him then a truly historic endeavor. Today, we visit three of the 11 sites on this restored stream system. At the commencement of my term, I have prioritized the decision to develop this large-scale project, with an investment exceeding US$400 million, larger even than the construction of road infrastructure, based on the pressing need for (flood evasion and irrigation of) such a project.

Remarkably, this project has been successfully executed within an 8-month timeframe. The rapid progress achieved counting from the project’s initiation in February is a testament to our collective efforts. I would like to extend my appreciation to the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, as well as the relevant working groups, including the Ministry of Economy and Finance, for their diligent efforts in addressing the project’s impact and negotiating the budget. Furthermore, I would like to acknowledge the invaluable contributions of the provincial authorities of Kandal, Takeo, Kampong Speu, and Phnom Penh. Their active participations were essential to the project’s success. Through our collaborative efforts, we have been able to effectively address and resolve the challenges encountered.

(2) Flood diversion and irrigation systems for/through Takeo, Kandal and Phnom Penh helps relieve water pressure discharging from Phnom Penh and evade flooding from Oral area through Prek Tnaot

The project has two primary objectives. Firstly, it aims to address the issue of flooding within Phnom Penh by enhancing the drainage system and incorporating additional drainage infrastructure (to discharge the water from). Certain drainage system constructed with small-diameter pipe culverts need to be enlarged. Another significant aspect of the project involves diverting floodwaters from the Oral mountains through Prek Tnaot before discharging to the Bassac River, which has a history of inundating parts of Phnom Penh. To achieve this, we have undertaken the rehabilitation of 10 streams spanning a total length of 260 kilometers, surpassing the length of the future Funan Techo canal by 80 kilometers. It is not averting flooding only in Phnom Penh.

By employing the strategy of water diversion, we will have successfully protected over 300,000 hectares of land, encompassing agricultural areas, residential properties, and industrial facilities. Notably, the Sak Sampov commune, which was previously vulnerable to flooding, has been effectively safeguarded through the implementation of this comprehensive plan, including the construction of streams and pumping stations. Consequently, the risk of flooding in Sangkat Kantouk, where (seasonal flooding) will have been significantly reduced, particularly during periods of heavy rainfall. In summary, this project represents a comprehensive and effective solution to mitigate flooding risks in Phnom Penh and its surrounding areas.

(3) Irrigation system established to evacuate flooding during both rainy and dry seasons for Takeo, Kandal and Phnom Penh provinces

Secondly, it serves as the irrigation system that manages water during both rainy and dry seasons for these provinces benefitting some 500,000 hectares of farmland for the people. In the past, streams were either shallow and/or small, and did not connect directly to/from Prek Tnaot River. Now we have connected them. We added pumping stations. We did it successfully and guarantee more fruitful results […] there are people who are organizing tourist sites along the way, most of which are places that attracted young people. Our people also get new roads. At the moment, in Stung Touch, we have strengthened an 8-meter embankment on each side. Where it was difficult in the past for people to travel, since we had only small roads, now people have bigger roads and more tourist sites are being created by the communities […]

(4) The unprecedented seven-km concrete baseflow stream in history

I would like to express my gratitude to the local residents who participated in the stream project. Our efforts go beyond mere restoration but actively expand the size (of the creeks and streams). While some creeks/streams are only 3 to 4 meters wide, we have successfully expanded in certain areas to an impressive 80 to 100 meters, comparable to the width of the Funan Techo canal […] this irrigation system holds significant importance, as we have invested over USD 400 million dollars in its development […] it relieves water pressure not only in Phnom Penh but also works for the benefit of our entire population. The water flows evade into the airport vicinity and extends further.

We aim to provide assistance to both the airport and the stream 96, as well as the areas beyond, reaching the Bassac River […] the renovated stream is doing a great deal. Our (construction workers here) have been participatory. Do not forget to take a photo as a souvenir, because soon the water will flow in and the concrete baseflow will not be visible anymore. At the moment, the Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology said that the water could have been let in if it were not to keep the stream baseflow dry for Samdech to see. In other words, in Cambodia, one may ask if there has ever been a stream with seven-km concrete baseflow built before? There is none. It is history. When we commenced this project, the area was nothing but dense streambank plants/grass […] we have now, with our own hands, transformed it this much today […]

(5) Flood/water management and irrigation project protects smore than 300,000 hectares and irrigate some 500,000 hectares of agricultural cropping land

In appreciation of the efforts of those of you who have worked on this project and the local residents, I anticipate that the upcoming monsoon season will not result in flooding as experienced in previous years. This year, the rainfall during the Dragon year is expected to be significant. In a conversation with His Excellency the Commander of the Special Military Zone and His Excellency the Commander of the Bodyguards Special Force, I reminded them of how we had always been ready to intervene, prepare boats, and gather necessary supplies. We may not need to do all that this year. While I am prepared to assist in flood evacuation efforts, my primary objective is to ensure the safety and well-being of the community during this period […]

I hope that the residents, particularly those residing in the vicinity of the Sak Sampov area and the factories area, will no longer be concerned about sharing images depicting significant flooding in their homes. Additionally, it is noteworthy that the region safeguards over 300,000 hectares from flooding and encompasses a 500,000-hectare irrigation system for plantations. Consequently, this development promises substantial advantages for our vast population. I would like to express my gratitude once more and extend my best wishes for our collective participation. Congratulations to all those who attended today’s event. It is imperative that the provinces, relevant ministries, and institutions continue to provide assistance in this matter […]

There are more to address regarding impacts, I kindly request your utmost effort in finding solutions for those who have direct impacts (from the project). It would be advantageous for both parties. If we failed to address this matter (of building this flood evading and irrigation system project), we would have to suffer damages/losses from seasonal rainy season flooding […] therefore, effectively addressing the impacts could improve our way to address the challenges. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the individuals residing along the Stung Prek Tnaot stream. Once again, thank you, and I extend my best wishes to everyone. In the presence of 247 employees today, I’m giving everyone a bonus of 100,000 riels./.

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