2. Angkor Wat: North and south basins flanking the inside causeway, western access:
The ad hoc group of experts looked the situation over and recommends that APSARA National Authority :
1. Dredge out both basins to their original depth to allow the groundwater table to naturally maintain the desired level, even during the dry season.
It should be kept in mind that although archaeological investigations done a few years ago on the south basin did not reveal any significant archaeological potential, a similar survey is required of the north basin.
2. It is to be expected that the dredging operation will expose the laterite steps surrounding the basins. It is assumed they were originally topped with a sandstone lip or coping. The condition of those structures must be diagnosed, then a program developed to consolidate and restore them.
3. To this end, by the next ICC session, with the support of the ad hoc group of experts, have the initial surveying and dredging work done to enable a better analysis of the nature, layout and condition of the infrastructure currently under the ground and/or water.
4. If restoring the steps is not sufficient to support visitors and photographers who stand to the west of the basins, provide ground reinforcement immediately to the west of them in the form of a laterite chip pathway able to withstand the localized foot traffic.
5. As for the grass-covered areas within the first enclosure of Angkor Wat (and this repeats earlier recommendations), the current orthogonal network of gravel-covered walkways must be removed altogether so that a naturally built up network of walkways can be restored. Based on actual observation, such an approach would make for a visually more effective way of marking off the grass-covered areas from the walkways.
6. In order to restore and maintain the grass cover over this area as a whole in line with the new layout, and as suggested by APSARA National Authority, put in a comprehensive watering system including: a pumping station in the moats, possibly a backup reservoir put in inconspicuously in the treed area to the north, permanent HDPE piping, hydrants to be distributed over the site where watering is needed, and able to be hooked up to moveable, flexible overhead pipes so that sprinklers or a drip irrigation devices can be connected.
7. To minimize the archaeological impact from putting in such permanent networks (HDPE pipes), make use of the old drainage culverts put in on the north side by the Angkor Conservation Office (that require repairing in many places to restore their original function of storm water runoff).
On the south side, however, most of the permanent surface networks should be placed within wooded areas, underground installation along with the requisite archeological surveying should be limited to just the places where they cross walkways and spaces with no tree cover.
For the latter, give priority to putting in the underground networks in line with the ancient “canals” of the inner “urban” fabric as revealed by the LIDAR images and/or work follow the current gravel-covered walkways to be removed, going no deeper than their foundation layer.
In addition to the foregoing, the group of experts has the following two recommendations:
8. Provide more details on the agenda that APSARA National Authority seems to be looking into at this time to replace or restore a number of balustrade supports along the temple’s inside western access causeway. A number of such supports have reportedly already been made, but based on a model not in keeping with the original model.
9. The building that was formerly used to showcase Italy’s last project to the south at the monastery entrance has fallen into disuse, so APSARA National Authority is invited to consider what would be best: demolish it, or, if it can be put to another use, redo the roof using a traditional material in keeping with the heritage nature of the site.
The foregoing applies to any similar type of building put up for temporary use during work campaigns on any of the monument sites of Angkor.