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Siem Reap farmers warned to be economical with water

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Every year, the ANA opens the reservoir for the farmers’ use from November until the end of February for the dry-season harvest. Apsara National Authority

Siem Reap farmers warned to be economical with water

The Apsara National Authority (ANA) on Tuesday appealed to residents and farmers in Siem Reap province to be more economical in their use of water from the West Baray reservoir to avoid water shortages during the dry season.

“The Department of Water Management at the ANA went down to instruct the farmers to be more mindful of their use of reservoir water in preparation for an extended dry season,” the ANA said.

Its spokesman Long Kosal said on Tuesday that farmers from the province are relying on the West Baray reservoir to irrigate 7,500ha of agriculture.

Every year, the ANA opens the reservoir for the farmers’ use from November until the end of February for the dry-season harvest.

“The farmers can request for water supply from the West Baray reservoir through local authorities or the ANA. Working groups from the community and the Department of Water Management will go down to the areas regularly to supply farmers with enough water,” said Kosal.

Besides the cultivation of dry-season rice, 10,000 cubic metres of water from the reservoir had been distributed to the Siem Reap Water Supply Authority to sustain the daily needs of residents in the province. Water had also been stored to supply underground water sources.

Kosal said a working group from the department had stored 56 million cubic metres of water at the reservoir from August to October, which had come from collected rainwater and Phnom Kulen.

“Our request comes after the government issued a circular calling on local authorities to implement water conservation measures. The directive also instructed authorities to caution farmers from using too much water in their farms.

“They have to cultivate dry-season rice once instead of twice because the current weather condition is not favourable. We also want to avoid confusion among residents who might not have received the news and plan on cultivating dry-season rice a second time,” said Kosal.

National Committee for Disaster Management spokesman Keo Vy said on Tuesday that inter-ministerial institutions are working on mitigating the effects of drought in the province.

“Siem Reap province experiences the impact of drought every year because water from the rivers and canals around the province comes directly from Phnom Kulen.

“But over the last few years, the relevant ministries opened a water treatment facility in the Toek Vil commune to prepare for drought and prevent water shortages.

“We are also working on restoring the rivers in the province in collaboration with a Korean company, and distributing the water running from Phnom Kulen to other rivers and canals,” he said.

In August, Siem Reap and other provinces were struck by severe drought. The Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said the drought-affected 20,867ha of paddy fields and ravaged 1,045ha, taking its toll on a total of 24,019 families in 49 communes across the province.

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