Cambodia has too much water during the wet season, and too little water remains in the dry season, which drives a relentless cycle of floods and droughts. These extremes destroy crops, properties, infrastructure, and lives and contribute to poverty. Thus, water management is key to the development of Cambodia. This article seeks to answer the question why Cambodia is vulnerable to floods and drought and how these conditions undermine the country’s development. It also examines what can be done to improve the country’s water resource management and the livelihoods of its population. The article examines water resource availability in Cambodia, its management regimes, and the policy implications in answering these research questions. The article looks at three case studies: first, the Stung Chreybak irrigation scheme in the Tonle Sap region; second, the Lower Sesan 2 Dam (LS2) in the Sesan, Srepok, and Sekong (3S) basin in Cambodia; and third, the transboundary water management in the Mekong Delta. It concludes that water management has been equated to irrigation management. However, the irrigation system in Cambodia has been inadequate to cope with the tremendous volume of water. Furthermore, water management has been complicated by the hydropower dams in the Upper Mekong region and the rubber dams in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. These contribute to high water insecurity in Cambodia.
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