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Angkor temples threatened by surrounding hotels

Apparently the hotels surounding the ancient temples of Angkor are sucking up so much ground water that it is theatening the stability of the historical sites.

The temples and towers of the 400-square-kilometre Angkor site sit on a base of sand, kept firm by a constant supply of groundwater that rises and falls with the seasons, but which is now being used to supply a burgeoning city.

With the number of visitors approaching 2 million a year, increasing pressure is being put on the scarce water resource. Thousands of illegal private pumps have been sunk across the city, pulling millions of litres of water from the ground each day.

UNESCO, the cultural arm of the United Nations, says that no one knows just how much water is being drawn from the ground, or how much can be taken safely.

Water is a precious commodity in Siem Reap, particularly during the dry season, when tourist numbers are highest. And the population of the city, barely five kilometres from Angkor Wat, has doubled in a little more than a decade to about 200,000.

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3 thoughts on “Angkor temples threatened by surrounding hotels

  1. The temples of the Angkor area number over one thousand, ranging in scale from nondescript piles of brick rubble scattered through rice fields to the magnificent Angkor Wat, said to be the world’s largest single religious monument.

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