Boeung Tumpon is the second largest natural lake in Phnom Penh. It serves a vital purpose both for the people and the environment of Phnom Penh. This lake is located in the south of Phnom Penh, in Khans Meanchey (Sangkat Chak Angre Leu and Sangkat Chak Angre Krom) and Dangkor (Sangkat Dangkor and Sangkat Cheung Ek) and borders Ta Khmao City Kandal Province. The total area of the lake is about 2,500 hectares, but in 2008 the Cambodian government-designated only 520 hectares of the lake to remain as state public property. This lake has many functions such as serving as a reservoir for approximately 70% of Phnom Penh’s rainwater. It also semi-effectively treats a majority of the city’s wastewater, serves as an agricultural area, and as a habitat for fish and birds. The citizens build houses along the lake and on the lake to live and use because it is not far from the center of Phnom Penh, where they have access to jobs and education opportunities, which are not available in the outskirts of the city.
People living near the lake can use it to support their daily lives through fishing, planting convolvulus, and water mimosa. In recent years, the lake has changed dramatically with a private company, ING Holdings, receiving approval from the government to develop a total area of 2,572 hectares for a satellite city, which is to include the lake area. Currently, this lake is being in-filled and private companies are constructing properties such as commercial buildings, condominiums, and apartments.
The official demarcation of the lake and cutting the surface of Boeung Tumpon
On 03 September 2008, the Royal Government-issued Sub-Decree No. 124 on the designation of Boeung Choeung Ek and the exit canals in Khan Meanchey and Khan Dangkor, Phnom Penh and Ta Khmao City, Kandal as state public property, by default 77 points (from A1 to A77) to contain a total area of 520 hectares as state public property. After the official demarcation of the lake, Boeung Tumpon has been revised six times:
- The surface of the lake was revised in 2012
In February 2012, the lake surface was revised, and 17 hectares were removed via Sub-Decree N 26 ‘Amendment of Sub-Decree N 124 2008’. It is not specifically stated within the sub-decree whom this land was leased to, but the Chip Mong group is currently building there.
- The surface of the lake was revised in 2017
In May 2017, 47.07 hectares of the lake was reallocated to the Khva people and it also includes land of tycoon and ricer via Sub-Decree N 70. The “Khva people” appears to be a group of persons from Khva, however, when researchers attempted to contact persons in the area, local respondents said they were not aware of any land grant to any group known as the “Khva people”.
- The surface of the lake was revised in January 2018
In January 2018, 30 hectares of lake was given to the ING-Holdings company in a compensation-styled exchange for 10 hectares of land that the company provided to the Ministry of Interior via Sub-Decree N 5 ‘Amendment of the Cheung Ek Lake and Canals in Khan Meanchey and Khan Dangkao of Phnom Penh and Ta Khmao Town of Kandal Province. It means the compensation was provided triple to the company. However, next year later the land was revoked and reallocated to six individuals and the government institutes.
- The surface of the lake was revised again in February 2018
One month later, the Royal Government-issued another sub-decree No. 12 dated February 7, 2018, deciding to cut 473,176 square meters from Boeung Choeung Ek to two private groups, firstly to Orkide Villa (374,678 square meters), and then to Khov Kimbak (98,498 square meters).
- The surface of the lake was revised in November 2018
An additional 190 hectares of lake area was granted to ING-Holdings via Sub-Decree N 148 on 1 November 2018. This land was then revoked by the government and handed over to two tycoons: Khun Leang and Thai Chea Huot.
- The surface of lake was revised again in December 2018
On 13 December 2018, the Royal Government-issued Sub-Decree No. 168 on the decision to cut 19,736 square meters of the lake, transferring it from state public property to state private property to give the Phnom Penh Capital Administration to build a wastewater treatment plant.