Preah Vihear irrigation pond project promising

The Sansom Mlup Prey Organisation (SMP) has dug a total of three ponds as part of its pilot project on wildlife-friendly community irrigation ponds in the Kulen Prom Tep protected area in Preah Vihear province, where most residents depend on agriculture and often face water shortages that affect their rice production.

The scarcity of water due to climate change and other factors have caused many problems for farmers and impacted biodiversity in the area. The Wildlife Rescue Community Pond Project was established to provide solutions to these problems that will benefit villagers and animals as well as being useful locations for providing ecosystem services to local communities.

SMP – founded in 2009 by Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Cambodia to enable the cultivation of premium organic rice in remote communities inside the sanctuary through the IBIS Rice Programme – presented the results of the pond project last week, in a workshop attended by provincial governor Kim Rithy and representatives of the Ministry of Environment, among others.

The project, launched on May 2020, intends to not only be a source of water for the community to use, but also for wildlife in order to contribute to conservation efforts.

Song Chan Socheat, director of the provincial environment department who was also present at the workshop, said his department is in charge of managing 10 protected areas with a total size of more than 960,000ha, including nine protected areas spanning more than 770,000ha and one “Oddar” biodiversity conservation corridor covering an area of over 190,000ha.

“In these 10 protected areas, the Kulen Prom Tep Wildlife Sanctuary has 14 communities living on an area of 20,304.22ha in size with a total of 2,043 households,” he said.

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