Poipet Villagers Blame Water Treatment Plant for Flooding

More than 130 hectares of rice fields in Banteay Meanchey pro­vince’s Poipet City have been flooded and some damaged by a reservoir serving the city’s water treatment plant, according to local villagers and a rights worker.

Soum Chankea, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said floodwaters overran the banks of the reservoir two weeks ago, affecting the fields of more than 300 Nimit commune farmers and flooding some homes as well.

According to Mr Chankea, Anco Water Supply Co built the reservoir three years ago by damming a local stream. Though the fields have flooded each year since, Mr Chan­kea said, this year’s floods have been the worst.

“Only the firm is earning a profit, while the villagers suffer the flooding,” he said.

Doeung Teok, a group representative in Damrey village, said the floodwaters started draining out of the fields last week but have already damaged 30 hectares in his village alone. He said locals filed a complaint with village officials last week asking for help.

“It was seriously flooded,” he said of the fields. “The floodwaters have been receding very slowly after local authorities cleared a part of the dam last week.”

Village officials could not be reached yesterday.

City governor Try Narin said yesterday that work crews removed a part of the dam to help drain the water last week. He said it would be another three days before the draining was complete.

Mr Narin did not blame the treatment plant, however, but Thai­land—where the stream that feeds the reservoir originates—for opening water gates upstream.

Nimit commune chief Pal Setha yesterday insisted that the fields were already completely drained.

“The floodwaters have gone since last week, because they started receding since we made way for water to flow into the stream,” he said.

Neither Kok An, the owner of the treatment plant and chairman of the Anco Group, the parent company of the Anco Water Supply Co, nor his assistant could be reached for comment yesterday.

 

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