The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology announced that the government spent $165 million a year on water resource and irrigation development policies to meet the needs of the agricultural sector and ensure sustainability.
Ministry secretary of state Bun Hean said $33 million a year of that figure went on water resource development projects and irrigation systems, with 218 built.
Hean was speaking at a press conference on the ministry’s five-year achievements, organised by the Government Spokespersons Unit at the Council of Ministers on August 25.
He said the ministry built 43 projects in the year and expanded the irrigation system to 123,015ha.
It expanded the rainy season irrigation system to 81,863ha, and increased the dry season system to 41,152ha, with an extra 4,388ha for mixed crop areas.
He said that the repair, maintenance and operation of the state irrigation system cost more than $75 million over five years, with 191 projects repaired.
“The ministry has been able to irrigate 1,889,112ha of farmland, equivalent to 61 per cent of the total area of more than three million hectares.
“In five years, the ministry has developed dams and reservoirs to increase water management capacity at three locations with a storage capacity of up to 455 million cubic metres,” he said, adding that 51 automatic meteorological stations have also been installed.
Hean said projects using partner funds and other financial institutions to develop irrigation systems included three Chinese projects, three Korean, five Australian and one Japanese, with three with French development agencies and one from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
In order to ensure water security, he said both quantity and quality in the framework of reservoirs, rivers and all water sources to contribute to national economic growth, the Ministry of Water Resources had set a number of goals.
The goals are to better manage water resources during periods of flood and drought, and to continue developing dam reservoirs on major rivers, while strengthening the management, use and maintenance of water works effectively and sustainably.
Long Phalkun, director of the Battambang province water resources department, said irrigation systems in the province has developed steadily over the past five years.
There are currently four major reservoirs, with the Sek Sak, Boeung Kamping Puoy, Stung Bavel and Bassac dams, which are important for the cultivation of crops.
He added that the province is currently building the Dauntri Reservoir, partnering with Korea, with 60 per cent of construction to be complete by 2024.
“This water system will the most modern in the whole country, and will cover a total area of 40,000ha when complete, with a storage capacity of 163 million cubic meters,” he said.
Keo Vey, director of the Pursat provincial water resources department, said there are 51 irrigation systems in the province.
“The projects are in three sizes, with five large, 39 medium and five small systems, including two large reservoirs built between mountains able to store 50 million cubic meters of water.
“The water resources ministry has a vision to continue expanding the irrigation system, with farmers now able to grow more rice in the dry season due to the increased number of channels,” Vey said.
Meanwhile, the ministry raised a number of issues as to why it could not fully meet the government’s Rectangular Strategic Phase IV and National Strategic Development Plan 2019-2023.
These included limited funding for restoration work and the construction of irrigation systems that was not able to meet actual needs.