Cambodia: Uplands Irrigation and Water Resources Management Sector Project

Sovereign Project | 44328-013 Status: Active


The Asian Development Bank is working with Cambodia to improve the country’s irrigation systems and malaria control programs. The two projects are increasing farm productivity and farmers income while improving health services to prevent the spread of malaria. Irrigation systems are being improved in Kampong Thom and Battambang provinces.

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Project Name Uplands Irrigation and Water Resources Management Sector Project
Project Number 44328-013
Country Cambodia
Project Status Active
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Loan
Source of Funding / Amount
Loan 3289-CAM: Uplands Irrigation and Water Resources Management Sector Project
Concessional ordinary capital resources / Asian Development Fund US$ 60.00 million
Strategic Agendas Environmentally sustainable growth
Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Governance and capacity development
Sector / Subsector

Agriculture, natural resources and rural development - Irrigation - Water-based natural resources management

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming Effective gender mainstreaming

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.

Impact Inclusive economic growth through agriculture and irrigation (Rectangular Strategy on Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency, Phase III, 2014 to 2018)

Project Outcome

Description of Outcome Water and agriculture productivity enhanced in the project area
Progress Toward Outcome The project was declared effective on 6 January 2016 and since then, implementation has taken a very good start. All start up activities have been completed with (i) mobilization of the project management implementation consultants in February 2016; (ii) award of the two civil works irrigation rehabilitation contracts by February 2016; (iii) award of contracts for vehicles, office furniture, office renovation; and (iv) disbursement of the advance to the imprest account in April 2016. To date, the contract for the supply of the hydro-meteorological equipment has been awarded and the Invitation for Bids for two more civil works packages have been advertised. The EA continues to take a proactive role and ADB requests that momentum be continued until the end of the project.
Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

1. Efficiency and climate resilience of irrigation systems in the project area enhanced

2. Water resource management improved

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)

The executing agency is reviewing the proposal for organizing and training of FWUC's in Taing Krasaing, Prek Chik O Kra Nak. The Project is expected to achieve all the targets in the DMF.

The contract for the Hydro-Meteorological equipment was signed on 31 May 2016. Preparations are being done for the installation of the hydromet equipment.

The works contracts for the first two irrigation subprojects (Taing Krasaing Main Canal and Prek Chick Canal) are ongoing with physical progress of 31% and 16% respectively. The preparation of the detailed engineering design of the secondary and tertiary canals is also ongoing.

Geographical Location

Safeguard Categories

Environment B
Involuntary Resettlement B
Indigenous Peoples C

Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects

Environmental Aspects The project is classified as category B for environment. The details of procedures to ensure that potential environmental impacts are mitigated are provided in the environmental assessment and review framework (EARF). Any adverse environmental impacts from the project are expected to be temporary, insignificant, and readily mitigated. The EARF and the initial environmental examination (IEE) for the two core subprojects have been disclosed on ADB's website. An environmental management plan has been prepared for the core subprojects to mitigate the impacts during construction and will be made part of any civil works contracts. The EARF will be followed for an environmental assessment of any additional subprojects prepared during implementation, and an IEE will be carried out for each. This will ensure that these subprojects are consistent with ADB's Safeguard Policy Statement (2009). In the event of additional subprojects, environmental management plans will be included in the IEEs and civil works contracts. Adequate resources have been allocated for environmental safeguards preparation, implementation, monitoring, and reporting.
Involuntary Resettlement The project is classified as category B for involuntary resettlement. Because screening of the Taing Krasaing and Prek Chik irrigation systems' main canals revealed no land acquisition or involuntary resettlement impacts, no resettlement plans were drawn up during project preparation. However, distribution canals for the two systems are to be identified during project implementation and may require the acquisition of small strips of land. To ensure compliance with ADB's Safeguard Policy Statement and government regulations, a resettlement framework has been prepared to guide screening and preparation of resettlement plans for these distribution canals and for other subprojects that may be added to the project. If subprojects are identified but assessed as category A for involuntary resettlement, they will not be financed by the project. Adequate resources have been allocated for preparation, implementation, monitoring, and the reporting of any necessary resettlement plans. The resettlement framework has been prepared in close consultation with the national and local governments and has been disclosed on ADB's website.
Indigenous Peoples The project is category C for indigenous people. No indigenous people live in the project area, and none are expected to be impacted by the project.
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design The farmer water user communities (FWUCs) were involved in the design process. During the PPTA implementation, FWUCs were consulted through focus group meetings, community consultations meetings and day to day field work conducted.
During Project Implementation Subproject agreements will be signed with FWUCs for participating in implementation of the subprojects and taking over operation and maintenance responsibility of tertiary canals.

Business Opportunities

Consulting Services 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 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.

Responsible Staff

Responsible ADB Officer Long, Piseth Vou
Responsible ADB Department Southeast Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Cambodia Resident Mission
Executing Agencies
Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology
364 Monivong Blvd, Khan Chamkamorn Phnom Penh, Cambodia


Concept Clearance 14 Aug 2014
Fact Finding 16 Jun 2015 to 26 Jun 2015
MRM 04 Aug 2015
Approval 24 Sep 2015
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 29 Sep 2016

Loan 3289-CAM

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
24 Sep 2015 10 Nov 2015 06 Jan 2016 30 Sep 2021 - -
Financing Plan Loan Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 66.12 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 60.00 24 Sep 2015 30.04 0.00 51%
Counterpart 6.12 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 24 Sep 2015 10.02 0.00 17%

Safeguard Documents See also: Safeguards

Safeguard documents provided at the time of project/facility approval may also be found in the list of linked documents provided with the Report and Recommendation of the President.

Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation

None currently available.

Related Publications

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