Power outages due to too many high-rises?

Robert Mueller / 2 Comments Share:
An EDC technician at an electricity transmission sub-station. Power outages are now a regular occurrence in Phnom Penh. KT/Chor Sokunthea

At present Phnom Penh, and Cambodia together, is experiencing a power problem. Power outages have previously randomly occurred due to repairs, accidents, and the like. But now they are quotidian because the drought hampers the generation of enough electricity to sate the nation’s ever-growing hunger for power.

In some areas the inhabitants have a difficult time getting access to sufficient drinking water. Preah Sihanouk has seen the necessity to have fire trucks deliver fresh water to a hospital, for example. The drought has previously caused similar situations, and yet no successful remedy has been found to sate the ever-growing thirst for water.

The global climate changes we face will most certainly not ameliorate the situation but rather aggravate it. The dams built along the Mekong produce power and at the same time contribute influence the water supply.

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Cambodia can do nothing to resolve these matters, neither to stop the meteorological maladies nor foreign damming – but it could dampen their effects.

Every high-rise that is built will consume electricity, especially in the drought period when the air-cons are insatiable. Every high-rise will consume immense quantities of water, especially in the bathrooms.

Would the construction of large edifices only be allowed after ascertaining the presence of sufficient power and water it would either halt their cancerous proliferation or force the improvement of power grids and waterworks – perhaps even both.

The tail end of the dilemma is that high-rises will also produce mountains of refuse and lakes of waste water. The proper treatment of such byproducts of human inhabitation should also be taken into consideration, not only for the approval of high rises and casinos but for the Kingdom as a whole.

I know of no panacea – and even if I did am in no position to administer it – but can only hope that the powers that be recognize the severity of the situation and try their best to remedy it for the benefit of all of the Kingdom’s people.

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Robert Mueller
Phnom Penh

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  1. I can walk to two gigantic rivers here in Phnom Penh. There is no shortage of water.

    I agree with your comments about rapid development, high-rises, etc.

    But shortage of water is simply not the case.

  2. The Prime Minister has been in power for 43 years and he has not bothered to build enough power stations, water treatment plants that produce clean drinking water and wastewater treatment plants to cater for a growing population and their growing needs. He blames anyone and anything for these and other failings. He is even now blaming the dry season for the lack of electric power and water in Cambodia. The dry season and the rainy season have been part of the Cambodian climate from before Buddha was born. He hasn’t shown any leadership in the current power blackouts and the first thing he should have done was to have his and his parliamentary colleagues power supply cut for the same duration as it is for every other citizen. Shame, Prime Minister, shame.