The proposed Uplands Irrigation and Water Resources Management Sector Project will help the Government of Cambodia increase agricultural production by rehabilitating, modernizing, and climate-proofing selected irrigation systems in Kampong Thom and Battambang provinces. Subprojects will be undertaken to (i) enhance the efficiency and climate resilience of irrigation systems, and (ii) improve water resource management by building the capacity of government agencies and of farmer water user communities (FWUCs) so that they can operate and manage the irrigation systems better. The project will contribute to achieving targets defined in the government's strategy. The strategy aims to develop and expand the country's irrigated land and manage its water resources more effectively by improving existing irrigation systems, making water user communities more efficient, and reducing the vulnerability of the Cambodia's people to disasters caused by natural hazards. The project is included in the Asian Development Bank (ADB) country operations business plan for Cambodia for 2015 2017.
The project impact will be inclusive economic growth through agriculture and irrigation, in line with phase 3 of the government's Rectangular Strategy on Growth, Employment, Equity, and Efficiency for 2014 2018. The outcome will be water and agriculture productivity enhanced in the project area. The project will deliver two outputs: (i) Output 1: Enhanced efficiency and climate resilience of irrigation systems in the project area; and (ii) Output 2: Improved water resource management.
PROJECT RATIONALE AND LINKAGE TO COUNTRY/REGIONAL STRATEGY
Improved macroeconomic stability and public financial management reforms have helped Cambodia's economy grow during 2004 2014. Gross domestic product grew by 7.0% in 2014 and is expected to expand by 7.4% during 2015 2016. Agriculture accounts for 29% of gross domestic product and employs 72.3% of the country's work force, or about 5 million people. The livelihoods of 80.0% of Cambodians depend on the sector. Farming in Cambodia is mostly subsistence-level, rain-fed, and devoted to paddy rice production. Even though Cambodia has become self-sufficient in rice and a rice exporter, its rice-based farming generates low incomes for its people. Nearly one-quarter of its provinces have food deficits, and 16.1% of the population is undernourished, even though the annual paddy surplus now stands at 3.3 million tons.
Rainfall distribution and river discharges vary significantly from season to season in Cambodia, which makes sustained year-round agricultural production difficult and increases vulnerability of the farmers' livelihood and rural economy. The timely availability and efficient management of water is of prime importance to enhancing agriculture productivity and achieving diversification in agriculture production and the rural economy. The deterioration of existing irrigation infrastructure is seriously compromising the government's plans to achieve these goals. In addition, droughts due to climate change may further restrict the availability of water and hurt agricultural productivity, particularly during periods of peak requirements. For this reason, irrigation scheduling, water gauging, and the designing of joint reservoir operations have been included in the project scope. The facilities the project will support may also be affected in the future by the high-intensity rainfall and excessive flooding that may result from climate change, and the project will therefore provide appropriate drainage facilities.
Improving agricultural productivity, crop diversification, irrigation and water resource management, and water storage capacity are among the major thrusts of the government's national strategy. The strategy prioritizes the development of irrigated agriculture to ensure food security and to build up the rural economy. Of the 3.98 million hectares (ha) of agricultural land in Cambodia, about 1.3 million ha are within the command area of 2,730 irrigation systems. Most of these systems are either dysfunctional or underperforming due to the deterioration and aging of infrastructure, a lack of resources to rehabilitate them, and inadequate operation and maintenance (O&M;). The two core irrigation systems selected for improvement by the project have a total command area of 20,301 ha, but only 11,935 ha of this land is currently being cultivated 1,015 ha in the dry season and 10,920 ha in the wet season. This is due to water not reaching the farms because design life of main and distribution canals is already exhausted and they need rehabilitation. By ensuring that this land is better irrigated, the project will increase the cultivated area of these two subprojects to 28,083 ha 10,912 ha in the dry season and 17,171 ha in the wet season.
Irrigation consumes about 70% of Cambodia's water. Efficient, effective, and sustainable management of the country's water resources largely depends upon how smartly irrigation systems are managed to match the use of water with the seasonal crop requirements and minimize the losses in conveying this water to and applying it in the fields. Increasing public investments in irrigation infrastructure and introducing modernized operational management will make the country's irrigation systems more efficient and productive. The proposed project's interventions will enhance agricultural and rural economic productivity through increased efficiency of irrigation systems and improved management of water resources in upland areas of Kampong Thom and Battambang provinces.
Inclusive economic growth through agriculture and irrigation (Rectangular Strategy on Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency, Phase III, 2014 to 2018)
The project will require 58 person-months of international consultant services and 610 person-months of national consultant services to provide technical support to help the PMU manage and implement the project efficiently. The consultant firms will be recruited in accordance with ADB's Guidelines on the Use of Consultants (2013, as amended from time to time).
Procurement is expected to involve small and large works contracts and goods and will be done using ADB's national and international competitive bidding and shopping methods. An imprest account will be maintained at the PMU level for ADB loan funds.