Cambodia’s first substantial rainfall of 2005 early Tuesday is a sign that the rainy season will begin and end early, a Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology official said Tuesday.
Seth Vannareth, director of the ministry’s meteorology department, urged farmers to begin tilling soil for the wet season rice crop a month and a half early.
“I would like to call for farmers to begin their farming because there will be a lack of rain in the late rainy season,” she said.
Tuesday morning’s rainstorm affected Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and the provinces of Kandal, Stung Treng, Pursat, Ratanakkiri, and Koh Kong, Seth Vannareth said. Phnom Penh received 57 mm of rain.
Seth Vannareth added that the department predicts another major rainfall before next week’s Khmer New Year celebration and more rain in late April before an early start to the rainy season in early May.
“In 2005 there will be more rain compared to 2004, but less than in 2000,” she said, adding that while the department can predict trends, it does not have the technology to predict storms with great accuracy.
The rains cannot come soon enough for the northern provinces of Kompong Thom and Oddar Meanchey.
“I have seen that 90 percent of wells, lakes and ponds have dried up,” said Em Phean, Kompong Thom’s director of agriculture and fisheries. “In most of the province, people lack drinking water.”
Pich Sokhin, the first deputy governor of Oddar Meanchey, also said many wells in his province have run dry.
Ky Heang, director-general of the Water Resources Ministry, said officials are studying underground water levels.
“I am quite concerned of water resources underground,” he said.
Underground water shortages, however, have not extended to the well-using hotels of Siem Reap, said Siem Reap Governor Sim Son.
Though Siem Reap has not experienced any recent rains, wells there remain able to supply water to hotels, he said.