Historiography 5: Development and Flooding in Boeung Kak

Boeung Kak Area Drainage and Flooding Assessment

Flooding in Phnom Penh has increased since the reclamation of the Boeung Kak lake in 2008. Residents claimed that they have never seen anything as serious as the recent floods since their many years of living in Phnom Penh.

The reclamation poses danger to the already tenuous flood protection and water regulation system. The filling of the Boeung Kak lake threatens one of the few remaining retention reservoirs, this hence put the inner-city area at a higher risk for flooding.

The report proposes that the lake is a closed system with little catchment contribution beyond the lake itself, the proposed development area would have the potential to generate large volumes of runoff, which may cause significant impacts on property and hazard to life downstream. Also, the report shows that the drainage improvements proposed in Shukaku Inc’s ESIA are insufficient to alleviate flooding impacts from the development of Boeung Kak Area. Also, not only will flood depths and levels increase, but the frequency of flooding will also increase. The report suggests that flood levels will occur more frequently following development. The combined effluent and stormwater drainage system in Phnom Penh means that any flooding will have serious water quality and public health implications.

Figure demonstrating potential flooding in Boeung Kak Area

The report suggests that the proposed filling of Boeung Kak should be reconsidered in light of the impacts it will create and the lack of consistency with the BAU/MPP masterplan, a collaborated sustainable urban plan done by the French and Cambodian government.

Interviews with the government reject the claim of public interest for Boeung Kak Lake. Mao Hak, director in the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, simply challenged the fact: “Boeng Kak is not a flood protection area. It is just a dead lake.” (Phnom Penh Post, 27.8. 2008), which justified their reasoning for further development that lacks consideration towards the existing inhabitants and the environment of the surrounding urban area in the city.


Davies, Richard. “Floods and Phnom Penh’s Lost Lakes.” Accessed December 17, 2020. http://floodlist.com/asia/floods-phnom-penhs-lost-lakes.

Benham, Sally, and Ben Caddis. “BK_Drainage_Assessment_001.01,” December 2008. https://cityofwater.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/final-bk-flooding-assessment-report.pdf.


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