Modernising Cambodia’s hydraulic and irrigation systems and practices

Old irrigation system in need of upgrade

Old irrigation system in need of upgrade – currently primarily used to collect water for household use. Photo: Rat Rotana

The four-year WAT4CAM project is helping to upgrade outdated infrastructure and taking the opportunity to support innovative, climate-friendly farming.

April 29, 2020
  • SDG: #15, #13, #2
  • SECTORS: Development Consulting, Water
  • COUNTRIES: Cambodia

More than 70% of Cambodia’s 13.5 million inhabitants are engaged in agriculture, with the vast majority being smallholders farming rice. To support this enormous agricultural population, substantial water infrastructure has been constructed over decades dedicated to mitigating the impact of flooding and ensuring water availability to more than 3 million hectares of irrigated land across the country. 

Yet many of these hydraulic and irrigation systems have not been maintained or upgraded since they were built during the 1990s – and some have not even been rehabilitated since their construction in the 1970s under the Khmer Rouge.

Meeting this challenge will require investment in the upgrading and rehabilitation of key infrastructure. The Water Resources Management and Agro-ecological Transition for Cambodia (WAT4CAM) programme, consisting of a EUR 55 million loan from the Agence française de développement (AFD, the French Development Agency) and a EUR 11 million grant from the European Commission, has as its first objective the rehabilitation of up to 13 medium-sized irrigation schemes and up to 40 preks (small irrigation systems mostly built during the French Protectorate) in five provinces in the north of the country. Seizing on the opportunity afforded by the infrastructure investments, WAT4CAM will go beyond construction and work to realise an overall transformation in how manage water resources and go about the cultivation of rice and other agricultural products.

To learn more about this programme

Get in touch

André Ban

André Ban

Country Director, Cambodia

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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