Monday, September 16, 2019

Drought remains amid rainy-season kick-off, with below-mean rainfall expected through mid-July

May 20. 2019
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By Prasit Tangprasert
The Nation

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Thailand officially entered the rainy season on Monday, even as Nakhon Ratchasima noted its “still-critical” drought situation with five dams and 23 medium-sized reservoirs holding only approximately 30 per cent of their water capacity, while 52 villages in nine districts were short of water for consumption and use.

Regional Irrigation Office 8 Nakhon Ratchasima director Kitatisak Nookaew on Monday noted that Lam Takong Dam now contained 174 million cubic metres of water or 55.48 per cent of its capacity, while Lum Phra Ploeng Reservoir contained only 27 million cubic metres or 17.96 per cent of its capacity.

The Upper Mun Reservoir was at 44 million cubic metres or 31.88 per cent of capacity, while 23 medium-sized reservoirs held a combined 101 million cubic metres of water or about 30 per cent of their total capacity, he added.

A source at the Nakhon Ratchasima Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office said that 52 villages in 21 tambons of nine provinces had suffered a water shortage for consumption and use. Of them, 35 villages in Sung Noen, Chalerm Phrakiat and Phra Thongkham districts were declared drought disaster zones so far and were entitled to compensation.

The Thai Meteorological Department meanwhile announced that the rainy season had begun on May 20 and would end around mid-October. This year’s rainy season will have less rain (at 5-10 per cent below the mean) than the previous year (which was itself 3 per cent below the mean).

The department predicted the period between June and mid-July would see only a small amount of rainfall over Thailand, resulting in insufficient water for farming. The hardest-hit areas would be those outside irrigation zones. The department said heavy rains would come during August and September, posing the risk of floods.

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