Warning of water shortages in 22 provinces
People living in 22 northern, north-eastern, eastern and southern Thai provinces are being advised to brace for shortages of water for consumption during the upcoming dry season. The dry season is due to start on November 1st and may last up to eight months.
The warning was issued today by the National Water Resources Office citing low levels of water in reservoirs, which are the main sources for tap water production by 42 provincial waterworks in 22 provinces.
Areas at risk, identified by the National Water Resources Office, are 19 districts in Chiang Mai, Lampang, Phayao, Chiang Rai, Nakhon Sawan, Phichit and Phetchabun in the northern region; 32 districts in the north-eastern provinces of Nakhon Ratchasima Roi-et, Maha Sarakham, Chaiyaphum, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, Nong Bua Lamphu, Loei, Sakhon Nakhon and Buriram; Pattaya in Chon Buri province and four districts in Phang-nga, Phuket, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Surat Thani.
Several measures have been adopted by agencies charged with dealing with water shortages. These include the dredging of water channels to allow increased volumes of water to flow into reservoirs, drilling of underground water wells, enlarging of water storage ponds and the purchase of water to supply to those in urgent need.
The Royal Irrigation Department said that people will be asked to use water sparingly.
There are currently about 6 billion cubic metres of usable water in Bhumibol, Sirikit, Kwae Noi Bamrong Daen and Pasak Cholasit reservoirs, with 5 billion cubic metres being reserved for consumption and ecological preservation, leaving only 1 billion cubic metres for use in agriculture.
This means that farmers in the Chao Phraya River basin in the central plains may not be able to grow a second crop of rice.