Cambodia’s small-scale hydropower offers potential and risk

The stiff, rusted grate forming a metal ramp scraped its stone anchor and bent under Lounh Samnang’s weight as he clambered onto the small-scale dam he operates and maintains.

Water rushed from the reservoir and gurgled through the dam’s turbine before flowing down O’Porng Morn Kraom, a tributary which eventually meets the Mekong River. The waterway passes the shell of the first dam built by the Lounh family for Koh Sampeay village in Cambodia’s Stung Treng province.

“From the very beginning, this dam supplied the village and pagoda without problems before the national grid arrived,” Samnang said of the 12-kilowatt dam. “We actually helped the village a lot.”

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