K Kong Capital Without Water as Reservoir Dries

Water continues to flow to CPP Senator Ly Yong Phat’s Koh Kong Resort; residents pay to draw from local ponds and streams

The Koh Kong provincial capital and 30,000 local inhabitants are without running water as late seasonal rains have caused the local reservoir to run virtually dry, officials said yesterday.

Officials appeared to disagree as to the duration of the drought in Khemara Phoumint City, with one local official saying it had started as early as May 19. Local businesses and officials said they have begun purchasing water de­liveries drawn from natural bodies of water.

CPP Senator and agribusiness magnate Ly Yong Phat said yesterday that he supplied Khmera Phou­mint City with water and was supplying his own hotel, the 545-room Koh Kong Resort, with what little water remains in the re­servoir even though the city was denied this.

“There are no rains this year, which has made our reservoir dry,” said Mr Yong Phat. “I have to supply [my] hotel.”

Mr Yong Phat said he hoped to find an alternative source of water soon but declined to answer further questions yesterday. City governor Khai­thoun Phlamkesan could not be reached.

Blaming a nearly dried out reservoir, a growing population, and a glut of recent visitors, deputy provincial governor Dom Yuk Hean said some 30,000 city residents have been without running water since at least Friday.

Mr Yuk Hean said he did not know the details of Mr Yong Phat’s contract to supply the city.

“The machine could not pump water [from the reservoir] because the water is too low,” he said, despite Mr Yong Phat’s assertion that he was sending water from the reservoir to his hotel.

Mr Yuk Hean suspected the situation would soon improve, however.

“I think it will be no problem because there were some rains,” he said.

Some have dated the water shortage to as early as May 19.

“The reservoir to produce running water has dried up and this month there was a little rain,” Dang Tong commune chief Toung Kheng said yesterday. “Now we have had no running water for five days.”

He said his own commune and neighboring Smach Meanchey commune have tried to cope with the shortage by paying water trucks to deliver from surrounding ponds and rivers, and that some residents and businesses have done the same. According to Mr Kheng, 3,000 liters goes for about $20.

Math Sim, a 47-year-old resident of Dang Tong commune’s Buon village, said this year’s water shortage was the worst he could recall. In previous years, he said, the water would cut out for a day at most. He and his family has made due by fetching water from a village pond but worried even that would run out without rain in the next few days.

Fellow commune resident Kun Diet said he has been drawing from a pond on his private farm to supply his 50-room guesthouse.

“If I did not have such a pond, I would have spent much to buy water,” he said.

Stung Veng commune chief Sob Husain said his residents have largely been spared the supply shortage but only because most had no running water to begin with.

“In Stung Veng commune we face little problem because most of the villagers have used wells and ponds,” he said, noting that only about 50 families have running water.

Oum Ryna, deputy director of meteorology at the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, said it had started raining in parts of Cambodia on Friday, noting that this year’s rainy season arrived a little later than usual due to a storm system over India.


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