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Water reaches drought-stricken Sisophon River

People work to repair an industrial pump at a water reserve in Battambang province late last month in an effort to get water to the dried up Sisophon River.
People work to repair an industrial pump at a water reserve in Battambang province late last month in an effort to get water to the dried up Sisophon River. Hong Menea

Water reaches drought-stricken Sisophon River

Water is again flowing in the bed of Banteay Meanchey’s Sisophon River, an apparent success for a large-scale government operation to pump water to the parched provincial capital from Battambang’s Kamping Puoy reservoir about 60 kilometres away.

While the water is expected to offer some relief, authorities warned that it would be contingent on villagers not putting the water to agricultural use.

Soun Bavor, Banteay Meanchey provincial governor, said in an interview yesterday that although the river was half full thanks to the 20-day pumping operation, “the water shortage remains a pressing concern and requires us to economically consume the water”.

Bavor said that for now citizens were prohibited from pumping water into rice fields because the drought may last until early August. Currently, Bavor continued, remote areas of the province, including some parts of O’Chhrou and Svay Chek districts, continue to face water shortages.

Chan Yutha, spokesman for the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, said the provincial capital, Sisophon, would have water for at least a month, even if it does not rain.

While moderate-to-heavy rains are expected to sweep the country intermittently through June, Yutha cautioned farmers to hold off on planting crops because the upcoming rainy season will be longer than last year’s.

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