Takeo provincial authorities have decided to drain water from Takeo Lake to save 130ha of rice in the villages of Khan Khao, Trapaing Leak and Svay Russey in Donkeo town’s Baray commune.
The decision came after representatives of approximately 20 families from the area went to provincial governor Ouch Phea’s residence on March 7 to seek help.
Phea confirmed to The Post that after receiving the request, he instructed officials to carry out an inspection and see if there really was a shortage of irrigation water due to Canal 15 drying up as they had claimed.
To address this, Phea allowed the pumping of water from Takeo Lake in Daun Keo town to irrigate the villagers’ dry-season rice crops on a temporary basis.
He also told officials to inspect Canal 15 and to restore its functioning to ensure that there would be no shortage of water for irrigating the rice crops in these villages next year.
“Previously, people took water from Canal 15 and not from Takeo Lake because there were concerns about a shortage of water in the town. But because Canal 15 no longer have any water, the provincial administration has authorised the pumping of water from the lake on a temporary basis,” he said.
According to Phea, the authorities have been watching water usage from the lake closely and generally acting with the utmost caution because water levels in Takeo Lake, which is the primary source of water for use by people in the town, are also running low.
Daun Keo town governor Kang Anan said that so far the villagers’ dry-season rice had been successfully irrigated and that there are only about 10 to 20 days left before the dry-season rice will be harvested.
He said about 60 families there depend on Canal 15 to harvest dry-season rice.
“The governor told us to look at two measures, the first would be to use the water in Canal 15 and the other is to take water from Takeo Lake. If we take more water from Canal 15, it may cause more rice fields to dry up, at least temporarily. So, we took the water from Takeo Lake,” he said.
Nhep Khoeun, a representative of Svay Russey villagers, said their dry-season rice crops had been affected by water shortages for more than a week. If there had been no timely rescue effort from the provincial authorities, he said the rice would have been severely damaged.