The Ministry of Water Resources has predicted drought conditions will last through the middle of the year but will ease up as regular rain begins to fall in July, according to a statement issued on Thursday.
With the region facing what has been described as the worst drought in decades, the ministry has warned that farmers and crops in Cambodia will be hit hard.
“Rainfall will be lower than the average in many previous years,” the statement said, adding that in some places rain will begin in May, but that normal levels of rainfall will not resume across the country until July.
Ministry spokesman Chan Youttha, who has called the drought the worst in 50 years, said on Thursday that the lack of rain would set back the country’s all-important rice planting season by as much as three months.
“Our farmers always start cultivation after the celebration of the Khmer New Year, but this year…cultivation will be delayed until July,” he said.
China took unprecedented measures to counter the impact of the regional drought last month by releasing water into the Mekong River from the Jinghong Hydropower Station in China’s southwestern Yunnan province.