BANGKOK – Thailand’s Royal Irrigation Department (RID) has been ordered to speed up efforts to mitigate the impacts of the looming drought after water levels in several major reservoirs fell below the levels of last year.
Eighteen major reservoirs are holding less than 30% of their storage capacity including Pasak Jolasid (Lop Buri province), Chulabhorn (Chaiyaphum) and Nam Pung (Sakon Nakhon).
Director-general Thongplew Kongjun said several provinces are experiencing drought due to a prolonged absence of rain, so the department has rolled out relief measures to make sure there are adequate supplies of water for household consumption.
The department has asked its irrigation offices and hydro-power facilities to strictly follow their water management plans and has instructed authorities to deploy standby machines, water pumps and water trucks to deliver water to the drought-stricken areas.
The Bangkok Post reports that the amount of land designated for farming of annual rice crops in irrigated areas across the country is set at 16.68 million rai, and farming has already started on rice farms covering 10.77 million rai, or 64.55% of the allotted land.
“The most important measure that every irrigation office must take is to make sure all parties understand the pressing situation and are making the most efficient use of water to protect reserves,” said Mr Thongplew.
Mekong River Dropping
In the North and Northeast, the water situation also looks bleak, with the water level in the Mekong River dropping rapidly and affecting adjacent rivers in the country.
The Mekong’s water level at Nong Khai’s hydrological station stood at just 0.80 metres on Wednesday — the lowest in 50 years.
Meanwhile, The Prime Minister has also called on farmers to follow the instructions of officials on storing water for their own use.
Those who have not started farming are asked to postpone doing so until it rains again. It is expected that it will rain again after September.
The PM has instructed the agencies responsible for water management in reservoirs, water pumping and water distribution to allocate water to the public.
Provincial governors have been ordered to accelerate proactive work in provinces where there is a growing water shortage.