Sime Reap river basin (409.29 km2) is one of thedistributary of Tonlesap great lake. The water source of river is from Kulenmountain and flow through the Angkor temple complex before it drains to theTonlesap. This watershed has very important function because it connects andmaintains the three sites of global natural and cultural conservation namelythe UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor, Phnom Kulen National Park, and theTonle Sap Lake Biosphere Reserve. Phnom Kulen National Park, Kulen mountain orKulen Wildlife Sanctuary is a national cultural heritage site and protectedarea with the size of 4025 km2.
It was established in 1993 and has managedby the Ministry of Environment (Clementset al., 2010).There are some temples which were built during the Jayavarman II period(770-835), and the series of ancient sculpture along the riverbed. Khmerarchitecture was inspired by Indian architecture, including Buddhist and Hindu.However, the Khmer civilization had developed its own style of art,architecture and presented in various religious monuments and the design ofcities and landscapes. Most of the Khmer kings built their own templesto reflect their power and worship to their gods. Not only did they built thetemple, but they also constructed and developed extensive/amazing hydrologicalnetwork/systems to manage water for irrigation and to supply the templecomplexes.
Rivers were diverted into canals and store in the reservoirs whichwere called “Barays”. West Barry is the largest reservoir that was built duringAngkor period with labour, 8 km x 2.2 km, and could store water up to itscapacity of 70 million cubic metres. Dikes were built across the flood plain todeflect and retain water to irrigate agricultural crops. Angkor is one of themost famous and important archaeological sites in Cambodia as well as theSouth-East Asia.
It contains the magnificent spectacular view of the capitalsof the Khmer Empire which was flourished from the 11th to the 14th century (Wager,1995a).Angkor has attracted the international tourists with the growth of 10,000% justover a decade (Winter, 2008).Angkor Wat temple and other surrounding temples attract millions ofinternational attention and tourism to the country every year (Gaughanet al., 2009).
Millions of tourists have flocked to Siem Reap province and visited Angkorevery year. As a result of that the government of Cambodia could generate asignificant amount of income from Angkor. This Siem Reap river is not onlyproviding benefit to the people who live in the watershed in term of dailyconsumption, agricultural purposes, but it also maintains and supports culturalheritage site, Angkor temple complex which could earn a large amount money forthe nation.