A farmer stands with his child on his rice field destroyed by drought in Oddor Meanchey province. KT/ Chor Sokunthea

From Khmer Times

Almost every province in Cambodia is facing some level of drought, according to director of the Meteorology Department at the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology Oum Ryna, but only a few provinces were facing a severe shortage of water.

“As far as I know, the provinces of Kampong Cham, Banteay Meanchey, Oddor Meanchey and Kampong Thom and some others are having a water shortage, as the water in their wells and ponds is starting to evaporate so much that they cannot use it anymore,” he said yesterday on World Water Day, a United Nations-sponsored holiday created to highlight water’s role in many of the world’s problems and solutions.

Mr. Ryna said the ministry has instructed all citizens to conserve water and reduce usage to the minimum amount needed per day during the dry season.

“The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology announced to all people to save water until the rainy season comes and we also called for them to pay attention to their health by drinking enough water in the hot season,” he said.

The most remote provinces are facing serious water shortages, Mr. Ryna said, and many residents living far from water sources are suffering.

“It is not yet the right time to warn about water shortages and the ministry is trying its best to make reservoirs and dig up ponds or canals for people we know do not have a water source,” Mr. Ryna said.

He added that Cambodia is not the only country facing a water shortage. Many of the Mekong countries, including Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and parts of China, are facing similar situations.

In a post on its Facebook page yesterday, the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology said it spent a significant amount of its budget on restoring and building new reservoirs in order to reduce flooding and maintain water for irrigation in populated areas as well as forests.

In relation to the drought across the country, Interior Minister Sar Kheng said the government would help local authorities in Kampot province yesterday during the inauguration ceremony of the newly-appointed provincial governor.

Mr. Kheng said local officials requested assistance for village residents facing the brunt of the effects of climate change, including drought, natural disasters and water shortages.

Keywords: drought, water supply, water shortage, Cambodia