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Northen Thailand

Thais Warned to Prepare for Worst Drought in 40 Years

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Thailand’s Meteorological Department has foretasted that the drought will be the worst in 40 years and last until May 2020. 43 provinces in the north, northeast, and central regions, would be the most affected.

Kornrawee Sitthichivapak, Deputy Director-General for Operations, said on Monday that the most crucial period would be January and February as water reserves are low.

There was unlikely to be any rain until May, the beginning of the rainy season. Also high temperatures and the climate condition known as El Nino prevail.

The lowest rainfall ever recorded was in 1979.

This year is likely to be worse than in 1995 and in 2015-2016. When it was so intense that water needed to be drawn up from the aquifers.

People in Bangkok and metropolitan areas were also affected and competed for water. Roads cracked, river banks collapsed and saltwater seeped into Pathum Thani.

Consequently affecting the use of raw water for tap water production for Bangkok residents.

Thailand suffers calamities at both ends of the annual weather spectrum – both drought and flood. But as the demands on agriculture grow, with a growing population and the rise of tourists and development, the effects of these two extremes are becoming more apparent.

Which leads us to this year’s outlook of lower rains which is exposing the poor management of the Kingdom’s water resources. Greater development and growing population bases hasn’t been met with more or larger water catchments.

Tough 2020 for Thai Farmers

So Thai farmers are expected to face a tough 2020 as forecasters say the drought will be more acute than usual. Lowering the water levels in reservoirs in the central and northeastern provinces especially.

The long dry season will lower certain farm outputs, pushing up their prices. However, an overall farm income is set to decline because the drought will leave other negative affects to farmers who are also the consumers as well. This will affect the purchasing power of farm households, which account for one-third of Thais.

Source: One Asia, Thaiger

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