To deal with expanding investments and greater challenges in Cambodia’s agricultural industry, the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology approved its first-ever geographic information system, or GIS, map of the country’s irrigation network, Minister Lim Kean Hor said Wednesday.
The ministry endorsed the map Wednesday during its annual meeting to review upcoming projects for the new year.
The chart was compiled by field surveys conducted by provincial departments between 2003 and 2008 in an effort to measure the actual size of farmland and irrigation systems throughout the country.
Lim Kean Hor said the map, which offers an incomplete picture of the country, would nevertheless help the ministry provide water for more than 1.1 million hectares of farmland, though he could not provide a concrete number of how many irrigation systems are plotted on the GIS map.
“Although we still do not have our mapping document 100 percent complete, we will use it 100 percent,” he said, adding the ministry would encourage its staff to survey Cambodia’s fields to fill in the remaining knowledge gaps.
“However, from now on, we have enough data and maps to continue working” on irrigation in the coming years, he said.
Veng Sakhon, secretary of state for the Water Resources Ministry, said Monday that a 2006 survey had found more than 2,400 irrigation canals across Cambodia, the majority of which were build during the regime of the Khmer Rouge.
He said the government repaired most of the dams and canals since it was not capable of constructing new ones.
According to statistics from ministry on irrigation and flood control systems, the ministry is currently implementing 16 irrigation projects, paid for by $304 million in loans and grants, with the aim to finish them all by 2014. The ministry is also seeking funding this year on nine other projects carrying a potential price tag of $551 million.