The Cambodian Youth Party has requested the government reconsider the development of the Boeng Prek Tup lake area in Preah Sihanouk province.
More than 16 hectares of Boeng Prek Tup lake was designated as a freshwater conservation area in 2016 by a government sub-decree. The government had aimed to preserve and protect natural beauty, culture, ecology and biodiversity.
In February, the government issued a new sub-decree, carving out 11.50 hectares for development, leaving only about four hectares for conservation.
CYP president Pich Sros, a member of the Supreme Consultative Council, yesterday said reclaiming the lake could prove detrimental to its existence. Mr Sros said he was baffled by the government carving out the 11.50 hectares for development.
He is now urging the government to reconsider the move and continue to designate the lake’s entire 16.3 hectares as protected.
“I will raise the issue during a consultative meeting at the end of the month. I will get input from other parties as well,” Mr Sros said. “If we reclaim this lake, it will affect Sihanoukville’s freshwater supply. The lake is also a reservoir during the rainy season.”
The development project has also been criticised by residents in Sihanoukville.
Vireak, a resident in the city’s Lek Pi commune, said the lake has been beneficial to villagers.
“For the next month, it will be dry season. There will be a lack of water due to scant water supply provided by the state,” Mr Vireak said. “For us, we have to take water from the lake. I would like to ask the authorities to reconsider reclaiming the lake.”
Neth Pheaktra, an Environment Ministry spokesman, said the development will not have any negative consequences.
“We do not have any concerns regarding a lack of freshwater. And regarding floodwater management, relevant authorities have prepared to […] restore drainage systems and waste management to protect the environment,” he said.
Or Saroeun, a provincial spokesman, said the project was approved by national-level officials.
“According to plan, this lake is to be developed as roads surrounded by tree lines in order to prevent dirty water pouring into the lake,” he said. “A clean water reservoir is to be developed for tourists.”