The Stung Sen Project

Preserve and protect the Tonle Sap water resources

The Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia. Located in the centre of Cambodia, it delivers primery resources (water and fish) to more than a million people living in its surroundings. The lake is fed by 11 main rivers and by the Mekong during the rainy season.

In order to preserve the lake and maintain its uses, the Tonle Sap Authority (TSA) decided to implement a planning process for integrated water resources management (IWRM). Being the main tributary of the lake, the Stung Sen river was selected as a pilot project. The IWRM is being implemented on the Stung Sen river basin, which is the geographical area that collects all the water flowing to the Tonle Sap through the Stung Sen river.

The Stung Sen pilot project will be duplicated to other sub-basins in the Tonle Sap hydrographic unit, and later at national scale.


Objectives of the Stung Sen project


A sound participative project

The Stung Sen river basin project is based on the implementation of a sound participative process for the establishment of a River basin management plan (RBMP), thanks to the creation of a River basin committee (RBC).

History of Stung Sen Project

2012 - phase 1

- caracterisation of the Stung Sen basin - beggining of participative governance - identification of the priorities to be submited to the future River basin committee (RBC)

2015 - phase 2

- approval of the River basin committee (RBC) by the Minister - adoption of the programme of priority measures by the RBC - communication and information actions in Khmer - beggining of decentralized actions, focused on drinking water issues

2017 - phase 3

- training of the TSA technical team in France - creation of the 4 working groups in the RBC - development of the water information system (WIS) and technical work (hydrology, ...) - initiation of a communication strategy

2019 - phase 4 (ongoing)

- continued decentralized action: 2 new stations underwork (5 already functioning), 25 Safe water cubes around the Tonle Sap - implementation of 5 irrigation schemes (financed by AFD) - action plan implementation - ...

The integrated water resources management (IWRM)

The IWRM is a method based on:

  • the basin scale, as it is the relevant geographical area for the management of water issues
  • a dedicated governance, with the creation of basin organisations in order to make possible the implication of all the stakeholders involved with water, and therefore the shift from a sectorial management of water towards an integrated management
  • the elaboration of a river basin management plan at the basin scale, elaborated with a dedicated method
  • a sound management of water data with a water information system
  • the funding of actions

The IWRM is implemented through working cycles: characterisation of the basin pressures and impacts (“what is the situation?”), identification of the main issues (“what are the priorities?”), settlement of objectives and elaboration of a programme of actions (“where do we need to go and how to reach there?”), implementation of actions, and evaluation (“are our objectives reached, and why?”). The monitoring should be led continuously through the cycle. At the end, a new cycle is started thanks to the update of the characterisation (“how have the situation evolved thanks to the first cycle?”).

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