The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology has announced a strategy for rapid rainwater drainage from canals, streams and rivers throughout Phnom Penh to mitigate flooding during the rainy season.

Ministry secretary of state Chan Sinath spoke of the plan while chairing an emergency meeting on September 6 with representatives from the Ministry of Economy and Finance and other stakeholders. The focus was on immediate measures to address seasonal flooding.

The water resources ministry stated that the plans involve medium-term efforts to modernise drainage systems, aiming to eliminate all types of flooding in the capital and its inner city.

Sinath directed his ministry officials and their counterparts in Kampong Speu and Kandal provinces to cooperate in opening all water gates from Kampong Toul Teuk Thla to the Roleang Chrey area. This would reduce water flow by 1,300 cubic metres per second, preventing water from reaching the new airport and the capital’s third ring road.

“At this time, we are reactivating Canals 92, 94, 96 and the sand canal to accelerate rainwater drainage near Phnom Penh,” Sinath said.

Phnom Penh governor Khuong Sreng convened a meeting on August 30 with specialists from all 14 districts to expedite flood mitigation plans. Sreng urged authorities and stakeholders to collaborate on a long-term solution capable of managing floods for the next 15 to 20 years.

Following the meeting, the governor announced that a flood mitigation plan would be submitted to the government, while also noting ongoing investigations into the overflowing of the Prek Thnaot River.

A report from the Phnom Penh Department of Public Works and Transport stated that to date, over 924km of rainwater drainage canals have been built, with plans for further expansion. It indicated that flooding had been alleviated in at least 32 locations, seven of which were recent interventions.

The study also stated that currently, more than 10 pump stations are active in the capital and play an important role in managing floodwaters.