Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Drought to grip Kingdom until new year



Drought to grip Kingdom until new year

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Drought conditions are forecasted to worsen between December and early January – with Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear, and Siem Reap provinces bearing the brunt of the water shortages in the Kingdom. Hong Menea

Drought to grip Kingdom until new year

The Mekong River Commission (MRC) has warned that severe to extreme droughts are forecast to last until January for countries in the lower Mekong basin.

Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand are expected to be the countries worst-hit by the looming drought, the MRC said.

The drought conditions, it said, are forecast to worsen between December and early January – with Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear, and Siem Reap provinces bearing the brunt of the water shortages in the Kingdom.

Forecasts predict that the drought will gradually ease beginning in the second week of January, the MRC said.

It said that insufficient rain during the wet season due to the delayed arrival and early departure of the monsoon season, coupled with last year’s El Nino events resulted in unseasonably high temperatures.

The MRC said the drought is caused by insufficient rainfall during the wet season and the delayed arrival and early departure of the monsoon rain and El Nino, which created an abnormally high temperature and evapotranspiration (water vapour released by plants).

Cambodia’s monsoon rains usually begin in late May and end in October, but this year’s monsoons were delayed by two weeks and ended about three weeks earlier, the MRC said.

“This year’s prolonged dry weather condition can adversely impact agricultural and crop production. The issue of water shortage for consumption could also come into play as the drought persists,” said the MRC Secretariat’s Regional Flood and Drought Management Centre head Lam Hung Son.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Drought conditions are forecasted to worsen between December and early January – with Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear, and Siem Reap provinces bearing the brunt of the water shortages in the Kingdom. Hong Menea

Ministry of Water Resource and Meteorology spokesman Chan Yutha said on Wednesday that effects of the drought may be lessened since it’s expected to occur during the Kingdom’s dry season and cooler temperatures.

The cooler temperatures, he said, will last from mid-December until the third or fourth week of January and prevent evapotranspiration from occurring.

“The Mekong River’s water level is the lowest point in recent memory. Some sources said it has been up to 100 years since we faced a situation like this. I can say that I have never observed the Mekong’s water level to be so low during the dry season,” Yutha said.

Yutha echoed the MRC’s report from earlier this year which said the Mekong River’s water levels had drastically gone down due to the El Nino phenomenon, despite parts of the Kingdom reporting heavy rains, flooding and droughts concurrently.

Some districts reported less than 700mm of precipitation, Yutha said, adding that “Cambodia has never faced such a situation before”.

“Regions of the Kingdom that can grow rice crops during the dry season will only have one crop this year, while areas that produce two or three harvests will only be able to produce one,” he warned.

Watch video:

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • Hun Sen: Lakes filled in for national developments

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced continued operations to fill some lakes in Phnom Penh to create land for developments, though he is against the unrelated practice of damming rivers or blocking waterways. Speaking at the inauguration of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport

  • Koh Preus upgrades 70% complete

    Initial construction of a nearly $30 million tourism infrastructure project on Preah Sihanouk province’s Koh Preus Island is “about 70 per cent complete”, according to an official with the developer. Heng Thou, construction site manager of Angela Real Estate Co Ltd (ARE), told The Post that

  • Local media loses a giant, and The Post a great friend

    Cheang Sokha, a gifted and streetwise reporter who rose to the highest ranks of Cambodian media and was beloved for his sharp intelligence, world-class humour and endless generosity, died on Friday in his hometown of Phnom Penh. He was 42. His wife, Sok Sophorn, said he

  • Cambodia, India agree to start direct flights, tourism exchanges

    Cambodia and India have agreed to start direct flight connections and promote closer tourism exchanges and cooperation in all areas after the Covid-19 saga comes to a close. The agreement was reached during a meeting between Cambodian Minister of Tourism Thong Khon and newly-minted Indian