Phnom Penh (FN), Jun. 14 – Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet launched a major USD 400 million irrigation project to mitigate flooding and enhance water management along the Prek Tnaot River, originating from the Aural Mountains. The 260-kilometre project aims to address flooding issues in Phnom Penh and surrounding areas.

The premier spoke on Friday morning (Jun. 14) during the inspection of the irrigation system.

Samdech Thipadei underscored, "At the beginning of this mandate, I launched a critical USD 400 million project, surpassing our previous road infrastructure budget due to its necessity. Over the past six months, we have achieved substantial progress at a remarkable pace."

Samdech Thipadei Hun Manet stated the project's primary goal is to improve Phnom Penh's drainage by expanding the sewer network and building a major canal to manage water flow from the Aural Mountains via the Prek Tnaot River. This involves constructing 10 canals over 260 kilometres, 80 kilometres longer than the Funan Techo canal.

On the occasion, Premier Hun Manet highlighted the canal's importance in preventing flooding in Phnom Penh and protecting over 300,000 hectares of land, including agricultural, residential, and industrial areas. The canal will also serve as an irrigation system, ensuring adequate water supply during the rainy season for tens of thousands of hectares of crops.

In recent years, Phnom Penh, especially Khan Dangkor and nearby areas in Kandal and Kampong Speu provinces, has faced severe flooding due to runoff from the Aural and Cardamom Mountains and increasing urbanization. To address this challenge affecting residents and economic activities, the government has allocated funds to build an extensive irrigation system to manage and divert floodwaters.

Currently, nine major projects are underway to mitigate flooding:

1. Stung Toch project is to divert significant water from Stung Prek Tnaot to Tonle Bati. The project includes a 51-kilometre canal, 100 metres wide, and a small dam in Samraong Tong district, Kampong Speu province.

2. Stung Krom Tonle Bati project is to redirect water from Tonle Bati to Boeung Cheung Long near the new airport. It spans about 7 kilometres with a width of 100 metres.

3. Cheung Eang canal system comprises five canals (three main canals, two connecting canals) and 2 pumping stations, serving the southwestern part of Phnom Penh. It has a total length of 26.5 kilometres and a width of 35-50 metres.

4. Canal 96 aims to release water from the upper part of the new airport and channel water from Stung Prek Tnaot around Prek Hoor to receive water from Prek Kampus, Canal 62, and area X1, detour the airport to Prey Kong and into the Boeung Cheung Loung, Kraing Yov area, with a total length of 14 kilometres and a width of 80 metres. The project will manage most of the floodwater out of the canals and connect the transportation network on both sides.

5. Prek Kong project is designed to relieve water flow below the new airport by directing water from Canal 96 around Sa Ang Phnom, Sa Ang area, and Koh Khel area, flowing into Prek Ambel and eventually to Vietnam. It covers a total length of 20 kilometres and a width of 100 metres. The project receives water from Canal 96 and the surrounding areas up to Prek Ambel and the sea, and it also connects the communication network through its banks.

6. Prek Peam Satha project consists of two lines including Prek Peam Satha and Boeung Ta Mok canal. These canals carry water from Boeung Ta Mok to Tonle Sap at the Peam Satha bridge in Ponhea Leu district. The total length is 18.7 kilometres, with a width of 100 metres. The project collects water from the Borey along Samrong Boulevard and connects the transportation network on both sides.

7. Roleang Chrey-Slaku canal project diverts part of the water from Stung Prek Tnaot to reduce flooding in Phnom Penh, especially along National Road 3 to Stung Slaku. It can irrigate about 7,500 hectares, supply water for safe use, and connect the transportation network in the project area through its banks.

8. Canals 59 and 90 release water from the upper part of the new airport and partially release water from National Road 2. The total length is 18.8 kilometres, with a width of 32 to 40 metres, and the project includes banks on both sides.

9. O Khsach is a project to connect the northern Chrey River to Ta Mok Lake through O Khsach. It diverts part of the water from Stung Prek Tnaot to reduce flooding in Phnom Penh along National Road 4 and the floodplain.