The Japan International Cooperation Agency in Cambodia and the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology have called on farmers to use water responsibly from nearby rivers to avoid shortages in the dry season.
Manabu Masuo, a JICA advisor, said on Friday his agency has been cooperating with the ministry to preserve water reserves in six areas in Cambodia to ensure the agricultural sector does not suffer water shortages.
“We have to use water carefully, and not waste water,” he said.
Mr Masuo said Cambodia’s lack of water for the agriculture sector led JICA to make plans to protect six river basins in various places around the kingdom.
The locations include Sangkar and Moung Russy river basins in Battambang province, Pursat river basin, Boribo basin in Kampong Chhang province, and Prek Thanot and Sla Kou basins in Takeo province.
“Water is key to planting rice both in the dry and rainy seasons, and if the irrigation system is not efficient then we risk wasting water,” Mr Masuo said.
Mr Masuo announced the creation of a river basin management committee to facilitate discussion about water issues with relevant ministries and local authorities.
Tang Sophat, an official with the Ministry of Water Resources, said water is not only important for people and agriculture.
“We need water for everything, not only for our daily lives and agriculture but also numerous other sectors,” he said. “We have to divide and keep the water for use in all sectors.”
Mr Sophat said Cambodia is rich in water during the rainy season, but faces shortages in the dry season.
“If we do not restore all the reservoirs we have, we will face shortages in the dry season,” he said.
April 2017 saw water shortages around the country, prompting the government to start a nationwide water distribution campaign.