Cambodia plans $4b dams to boost irrigation, power generation
Cambodian Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology has begun preliminary studies for the building of a series of dams across four provinces which will cost $4 billion, reported local newspaper the Phnom Penh Post.
"We are planning to build more than 10 dams and related irrigation systems in four northwestern provinces to ensure rice production during both the rainy and dry seasons," Veng Sakhon, secretary of state for the ministry, was quoted as telling the paper.
The proposed dams would provide the country with a more modern irrigation system as well as generate electricity for rural communities, he said.
However, other dam projects have come under fire for their impact on the environment and lack of transparency.
The ministry aims to build four dams in Pursat province that would supply irrigation to more than 35,000 hectares of land and generate as much as 300 megawatts of power for local communities.
Other proposed dam sites include locations in Battambang, Kampong Chhnang and Banteay Meanchey provinces, and the ministry is consulting with engineers from China and South Korea, Veng Sakhon said.
He added that the government must look outside the country for the money needed to complete the ambitious project.
"We will need more than $4 billion," he said, adding that the ministry is still in the preliminary stages of planning the massive projects.
Chan Tong Yves, secretary of state for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said Cambodia must improve its irrigation systems to meet greater agricultural and export demands.
"We have suffered drought in some areas, but nothing serious yet," he said.
Meas Sotheavy, head of the statistics office at the ministry's Planning and Statistics Department, said only a relatively small portion of Cambodia's rice fields is irrigated.
"Now, only about 30 percent of rice paddies are connected to irrigation systems. We'd like to get that number to 40 percent by the end of this year," she said.
Letters that do not contain full contact information cannot be published.
Letters become the property of AseanAffairs and may be republished in any format.
They typically run 150 words or less and may be edited
submit your comment in the box below