The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology has asked the capital and provincial authorities to prevent encroachment on river banks, ditches, creeks, canals, water reservoirs and lakes to avoid the effects of water drainage and flood disasters.
Water Resources and Meteorology Minister Lim Kean Hor on Friday issued a letter to provincial governors stating, while the economic situation has improved over the last few years, construction has increased significantly. The ministry has observed negative activities which have occurred, including land-filling and encroachment of river banks, ditches, creeks, canals, water reservoirs and lakes, which are the state’s public property.
He added, “We are very concerned about issues of water drainage and floods due to encroachment, which cause blockage to the waterways.”
Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesman Kheang Phearom said yesterday he is yet to receive any information from the provincial administration regarding the ministry’s letter. However, he said the provincial administration in the past have been working to prevent cases of illegal reclamation and encroachment on state-owned lands.
“The provincial administration has also been addressing the impact of the dozens of families who have constructed illegal structures that cause flooding during the rainy season,” he said.
Chak Sopheap, executive director of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, yesterday supported the ministry’s call.
She said permissions were given out in the past to the private sector, causing many lakes to be filled, including Boeng Tamouk Lake which is currently facing reclamation.
“Any development should be sustainable and take into consideration economic, social and environmental aspects,” she said.
Mrs Sopheap also requested all relevant institutions to join together to protect the existing natural lakes and resources of Cambodia.