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Ministry boost efforts for irrigation infrastructure

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
JICA’s irrigation rehabilitation project in Pursat province. KT/ Pech Sotheary

The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology has increased efforts to develop irrigation systems along border areas shared with Vietnam and Thailand in a bid to strengthen water management and mitigate effects of drought and floods.

In a press conference held at the Council of Ministers yesterday, Ministry spokesman Chan Youttha said despite some irrigation system developments, residents in some provinces bordering Vietnam are still dependent on tidal waters from Vietnam, which are sporadic and result in water shortages.

“Some areas in Takeo, Kandal, Kampot, Prey Veng and Svay Rieng provinces depend on tidal waters from Vietnam. We will utilise the potential water sources in our country to send water to those regions through the development of irrigation systems” he added.

Mr Youttha said some areas bordering Thailand have been suffering from floods fromBanteay Meanchey province, which is a low-lying area.

“We are cooperating with Korea for  a drought and flood mitigation project to build water storage infrastructures in Banteay Meanchey. With this, we will be able to store rainwater to avoid floods and use it during the dry season,” he said.

“In the future, we will have our own sources for clean water to supply the needs of those living along the border areas,” he said.

The ministry will continue to cooperate with other countries and development partners to further develop irrigation infrastructures in the Kingdom to cover more than 3.2 million hectares of rice fields.

Peng Bunnet, a farmer living in Prey Veng province, expressed support for the ministry because they currently lack water for rice cultivation in the dry season.

Pat Sovann, an agriculture official at the French NGO GRET Cambodia, said irrigation development will help Cambodians who mostly rely on agriculture. “Having enough water will help improve the cultivation of crops. But if there is shortage, people may decide to migrate to other areas,” he said.

At present, irrigation infrastructures in the country can irrigate only over 1.9 million hectares of paddy, or about 62 percent.

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