The government last week issued a circular to relevant ministries and local authorities to observe water conservation measures following a sharp fall in Mekong River water levels – the lowest it has been in 60 years.
The circular said that “the dry-season rice production can only be yielded once”.
“Although there is water in reservoirs, the water [in those places] should be kept for daily consumption and subsidiary crops other than rice,” it said.
This year, Cambodia, as well as other countries in the region, were gripped by drought caused by extremely hot weather, the late arrival of the rainy season, and a drastic dip in the Mekong water level.
National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) spokesman Keo Vy told The Post that the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, which had been aware of the weather situation, had already advised people to only cultivate dry-season rice once.
“We have already advised people in Pursat and Banteay Meanchey to not cultivate dry-season rice a second time as it could lead to water shortage. We need to save water for daily consumption,” Vy said.
The government’s circular came after the Mekong River Commission issued a press release saying that Cambodia, among other countries, will be hit by severe to extreme drought from now until January 2020.
Thousands of hectares of rice paddy in Banteay Meanchey province have already been damaged due to subsequent water shortage.