Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Officials pumping water into drought-affected rice fields

Officials pumping water into drought-affected rice fields

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
More than 10,000ha of rice fields in Battambang province are affected by drought. Hong Menea

Officials pumping water into drought-affected rice fields

Provincial authorities and agriculture officials are working together to pump water into rice fields as thousands of hectares in eight provinces are affected by drought. Concern over possible water shortage for daily use also remains.

National Committee for Disaster Management spokesman Keo Vy told The Post on Monday that the drought is taking its toll on more than 10,000ha of rice fields in Battambang and more than 1,000ha in Kampong Cham.

He said Prey Veng, Kandal, Takeo, Banteay Meanchey, Tbong Khmum, and Kampong Chhnang provinces have also been affected, although he had not received any report on damage to rice crops.

However, Vy assured that water sources such as lakes, canals, creeks, and big and small irrigation systems, still contained water and were not dry.

The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology had decided to release the water for citizens and the authorities had pumped it into the rice fields.

“We released water from the Kamping Puoy Reservoir to save more than 10,000ha of rice crops in Thma Koul district, in Battambang province.

“According to the weather forecast, there may be no early rains. If there are none, it will cause more challenges. We will [use] water from the reservoirs for daily consumption and to grow crops.

“[But] we will use it economically to prepare for the upcoming dry season and to ensure the water shortage of 2016 doesn’t happen again,” he said.

That year, more than two million people across the country experienced water shortages due to El Nino. At the time, authorities were forced to transport water from other places to supply the water-deprived areas.

Vy recalled that this year, rice fields had been thrice affected by drought where soaring temperatures had been experienced due to the delayed arrival and early departure of the monsoon rains, along with insufficient rainfall.

He said if El Nino ends next year, the country may see early rains from mid-January to February that could help ease the effects of the drought.

Battambang provincial Department of Agriculture director Chhim Vichara said on Monday that 11,400ha of wet-season rice crops in Thma Koul district had been affected by the drought, but officials from the provincial administration and the district, along with agricultural department officials, had gradually addressed it late last week.

The officials reportedly exported water from the Kamping Puoy Reservoir in Banan district and the river in Bavel district.

Vy said this normally happened every year at the end of the rainy season. Water from rivers, lakes, and irrigation systems, he said, had been stored to prepare for the shortage.

If the drought worsens, the water would be used by December. However, if no rainfall occurs in January, the country could experience a water crisis, he stressed.

MOST VIEWED

  • Historic Battambang town bans billboards

    The Battambang town administration informed all house and business owners in Svay Por commune to remove all billboards by August 1 as it is preparing to submit the town to UNESCO for inclusion on its historical cultural heritage list. Its July 25 notice said all signage was

  • All foreigners' accommodations to be inspected: Sar Kheng

    The Ministry of Interior is undertaking a serious effort to inspect all the accommodations of foreigners in Cambodia – except diplomats – in order to find and identify human traffickers. Minister Sar Kheng said this would include inspections on the homes of foreigners employed by businesses, private

  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker