Approximately 186 large water pumps and 200,000 to 300,000 liters of fuel have been set aside for the provinces to battle drought, said Y Ky Heang, secretary of state for the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology.
“We know [the reserves] are not enough for farmers, but at least we can deduct 20 percent of the damage that is caused by having no water,” Y Ky Heang said.
Each province will receive five or six water pumps. The government has already distributed 200 pumps donated by Malaysia, he said.
Officials from the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology said that a drought might occur in mid-October, but they couched that prediction by saying their forecast extends only from today through mid-October. They are not certain the drought will continue past mid-October, said Seth Vannareth, director of the technical office in the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology.
But based on that forecast, Y Ky Heang said “this is the main priority for us to do. Our resources and materials from the Water Supply and Irrigation Department will be sent into the [provinces] when the drought is happening.”
A recent survey estimated that only 16 percent of rice fields in Cambodia are adequately irrigated.
Te Auv Kim, director of the irrigation and drainage department, said farmers should be on alert during mid-October. He said farmers must construct small dams to prevent water flowing from their rice fields, and if they do this in advance they could save their rice crop.
“If they do not take these measures, their crops could face damage,” Te Auv Kim said. He said his department has already released this information through radio stations and provincial information departments so farmers will be adequately prepared in case the drought hits.
The government is also concerned about flooding in some areas, said Prak Doeun, Battambang province third deputy governor.
“Rice fields in some districts have no water for cultivation, but rice fields near the Tonle Sap lake and river are flooded,” Prak Doeun said.
“A number of fields are damaged because the flood levels are getting higher very quickly, and the rice could not grow with the water level,” he said.