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Sesan dam villagers short of clean water

Sen David / Khmer Times Share:
Villagers say there is a lack of clean water. KT/May Titthara

More than 500 families who accepted compensation to leave their homes due to the construction of the Sesan dam in Stung Treng province yesterday said the village where they were relocated has insufficient access to clean water.

Sok Si, 35, is one of the residents who agreed to move to the new village in Sesan district’s Sre Ko commune.

She said locals accepted compensation and agreed to move to the village, but were not expecting to have difficulties accessing clean water.

Ms Si said villagers have petitioned local authorities for help because they were having to spend a large amount of money buying clean water.

“Some families have spent more than 100,000 riel ($25) on buying clean water from other villages because the new area does not have enough water,” she said.

A total of 520 of 570 families agreed to move to a new village after they were asked to leave their homes to make way for the Sesan dam project.

The area where villagers used to live has been flooded since the dam became operational.

Sek Mekong, another resident, said there were only 20 wells in the area.

“The villagers need more wells because there are not enough. Also, some of the wells are solar powered, so can only be used at limited times, which means people are facing a severe lack of clean water,” he said. Mr Mekong added that the families who agreed to move for the dam project must be given a place to live with sufficient infrastructure.

Veun Cheun, the new chief of Sre Ko commune, said local authorities were finding a solution.

“The company and local authorities are preparing water resources for the villagers. The work is 70 percent complete. When it is finished, villagers will get clean water,” he said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen attended the inauguration of the dam in September.

The construction of the dam is scheduled to be completed in 2019 at a total estimated cost of $186 million.

When it is complete, it will generate 400 megawatts of power for the provinces of Stung Treng, Kampong Cham, Kratie, Preah Vihear and Ratanakkiri, ending their dependence on electricity from Laos.

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