The short-term dry spell is hitting Kampong Speu province hard. Over 5,000 ha of rice fields across two districts are thirsting for water. To combat this, provincial authorities leapt into action last weekend, pumping water to vitalise the parched fields.

Overseeing the operation is provincial governor Vei Samnang. On August, 14 he reported that rice fields in the Kong Pisey and Samrong Tong districts were impacted by the annual water shortage known as ‘small dry season’, which typically happens from July to August.

“Currently, these two districts have more than 5,000 hectares of farmland needing rescue,” Samnang remarked via Telegram.

He detailed: “Kong Pisey district is the hardest hit with nearly 5,000 ha, while Samrong Tong district has 85 ha affected”.

The Department of Water Resources and Meteorology is on the case. They’ve set up two large water pumps to push water through main canals into smaller ones.

In addition, farmers have deployed 50 machines, with fuel funded by the specialised department, to irrigate their fields. Samnang is hopeful about the operation’s success.

“We have reservoirs capable of supplying water to affected regions,” he assured.

He also urged impacted farm owners to notify local authorities for prompt assistance.

“The Department of Agriculture is ready with a variety of rice seeds for those needing to replant after the dry spell,” he highlighted.

The drought’s impact isn’t limited to rice. Mong Reththy, general director of Mong Reththy Group, a major agricultural investor in Samrong Tong district, expressed his concerns.

“My crops like coconuts, oranges, and guava need daily watering. But for the rice, some damage is irreversible. Even with pumping machines, we lack enough rainwater to pump,” Reththy said.

Before the rainy season began, the agriculture ministry advised farmers across the Kingdom to be cautious with their crop planting and livestock rearing. This is to prepare for a short drought typically expected from early July to early August.

While some parts of Kampong Speu are suffering from droughts, floods had troubled the other areas in the province last month. They wreaked havoc in the districts of Phnom Sruoch and Oral, affecting nearly 200 families and causing extensive damage.