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PM Reveals Plans to Deepen the Tonle Sap Lake

PHNOM PENH: Prime Minister Hun Sen has unveiled a project to deepen the Tonle Sap Lake to conserve fish species and plan to use the sediment pumped from the river as agricultural fertilizer to distribute to the people.

According to a special statement made on the morning of Friday, 27 May, Prime Minister Hun Sen said that every year, a lot of sediment flows into the Tonle Sap Lake especially during the dry season. This phenomenon has caused problems for people's livelihoods, especially the reproduction of fish in the lake. With leaves falling into the water, the Tonle Sap Lake gradually dries day by day.

"Since the temperature in our river is rising, fish conservation is a difficult issue for us," said Prime Minister Hun Sen.

He added that in order to maintain and conserve fish species in the area, it is necessary to locate and find boats for pumping water in those areas to a deeper depth and to ensure that during the dry season, fish can access the area.

He added that the work could not be done all at once on the Tonle Sap Lake, but requires starting from some point in the provinces adjacent to the lake.

"Therefore, this work has to do with the conservation of our fish sanctuary, we have to start from there first, then wait for us to find measures with the deepening of the Tonle Sap Lake," he said.

The Prime Minister has ordered a master plan to be prepared, and especially for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to work on this issue by studying the area where fish live, determining the size of the area where this work needs to be conducted and including this information in the project proposal for the national budget.

The Tonle Sap Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. It appears as a deep sea and can be navigated during the rainy season, but during the dry season, the lake has the appearance of a muddy and shallow pond. The dry season begins in December and ends in May. During this period, the water level of the Tonle Sap Lake is between 0.8 to 2 meters. During the rainy season, the general view of the Tonle Sap Lake changes and the water depth gradually increases, sometimes flooding the surrounding lowlands. The water level can rise up to 14 meters, making it so that large ships can also be accommodated. 



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