Groundwater in Cambodia
There has been an increase in the use of shallow groundwater for agriculture in some areas of Cambodia over the past 15 years, but uptake has been relatively limited compared to the rapid expansion of groundwater irrigation in much of the rest of Asia. There is insufficient published information on the extent and distribution of groundwater resources in Cambodia to accurately assess whether groundwater irrigation offers a genuine alternative for Cambodia farmers or is suitable only for limited applications. Review of groundwater issues for ACIAR in 2013 concluded that, since groundwater is widely used for domestic purposes, with more than 270,000 extant shallow wells, well-drillers operating in the provinces are likely to have a significant body of knowledge about the distribution, accessibility, and quality of shallow groundwater resources. A systematic national survey of well-drillers, supplemented by existing geological studies and well databases (held by MRD and Ministry of Health/UNICEF), would provide valuable insight into the viability of groundwater resources in different regions. This information, combined with an analysis of current patterns of irrigation demand, could provide the basis for identifying priority areas for groundwater development.