Water in Phnom Penh – the lake infilling

Lake Infilling

The infilling of wetlands, streams and ponds has raised awareness and public sentiment in Phnom Penh. They are currently being filled with earth so as to create more developable land. This process not only raises human rights, but also environmental concerns. Many argue that water is not a constructible area, since they believe the infilling will cause more harm than goods in the long term development. However, the States and developers ignored the voice and insist filling. The States further set rules to claim that if a waterway is of no public value, it is eligible for infill. Therefore, developers in partnership with officials fill in waterways,transforming them into land that is physically and legally suitable for construction.

A politically controversial example is the Boeung Kak Lake, a lake of nearly 90 hectares, filled in by a company named Shukaku Incorporated, to create a site for a “multi-purpose recreation and living center.” Nearly 20,000 people have been evicted to make room for this development. In a recent protest, 13 former residents were demonstrating peacefully. However, they were subsequently arrested by the government, held without charge and further sentence to two and a half years in prison and only released after pressure from the International human rights community.

Boeung Kak Lake infilled with sand in August 2012
Boeung Kak Lake infilled with sand in August 2012

 

Boeung Kak Lake infilled , residents have been evicted

Boeung Kak Lake infilled
, residents have been evicted

The side effects of the infilling are considered unacceptable. This situation has long been argued since the 1900s, yet, the States keep ignoring this situation and mesmerized by the short term effect, causing significant impacts on property and hazard to life downstream. This not only increases in peak flood levels, but also increases the flooding frequency.

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reference:

  1. Sahmakum Teang Tnaut – Samakum Teang Tnaut . a Cambodia Urban NGO. (n.d.). Retrieved December 7, 2015, from http://teangtnaut.org/?lang=en
  2. Flooding in Phnom Penh City – Sahmakum Teang Tnaut. (2014, October 3). Retrieved December 7, 2015, from http://teangtnaut.org/flooding-phnom-penh-city-2/?lang=en
  3. City of Water. (n.d.). Retrieved December 7, 2015, from https://cityofwater.wordpress.com/

2 Comments on “Water in Phnom Penh – the lake infilling

  1. State’s statement that the “waterway is of no public value and it is eligible for infill” I believe it is a matter of how the development is carried out to create ‘public value’. Taking Hong Kong as an example, most of the waterfronts have developed into various commercial and recreational uses and for space like avenue of stars have reserved the waterfront and became a valuable public promenade. The environmental consequences from this infilling also can create immense future cost for rehabilitation and potential damages.

  2. (corrected)
    State’s statement that the “waterway is of no public value and it is eligible for infill”is quite shocking. I believe it is a matter of how the development is carried out to create ‘public value’. Taking Hong Kong as an example, most of the waterfronts have developed into various commercial and recreational uses and for space like avenue of stars have reserved the waterfront and became a valuable public promenade. The environmental consequences from this infilling also can create immense future cost for rehabilitation and potential damages.

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