By The Nation
THE ROYAL Irrigation Department (RID) announced yesterday that Thailand will not suffer from drought this year as there will be enough water for use until early 2020.
Deputy director-general Thaweesak Thanadachopol said an official survey in irrigation zones had learned that there will be sufficient water supply for consumption and farming.
Thailand will not experience a repeat of recent drought disasters because the RID and related agencies had undertaken a detailed study of water usage over the past two years and are planning drought-tackling measures to cope with any problems that arise, he added.
However, the senior RID official said that six key reservoirs were still being monitored, namely Khon Kaen’s Ubol Ratana Dam, Lampang’s Mae Mok Dam, Uthai Thani’s Thap Salao Dam, Suphan Buri’s Krasiao Dam, Nakhon Ratchasima’s Lam Phra Phloeng Dam and Buri Ram’s Lam Nang Rong Dam.
Operators of the Ubol Ratana and Mae Mok dams also imposed a ban on all farming in those areas, in order to reserve water during the current dry season, which runs until the end of April, to ensure there is sufficient water for consumption, Thaweesak said.
The RID is launching schemes, such as dredging of irrigation canals, to employ farmers who are not able to grow crops during this season.
The deputy director-general added that though farmers in the areas of the four other dams have been prohibited from off-season rice growing, they will still be allowed to grow edible plants to make a living.
He said that public consumption will prioritised, followed by using water to irrigate allocated crops, before water usage for industrial purposes is allowed.
The RID has also put in place measures to minimise the impact of drought and has set up a joint irrigation management committee to set a criteria for fair water allocation and to settle disputes.
Meanwhile, 1,500 households in Uttaradit’s Muang district have been suffering from a shortage of tap water due to “early-onset drought”, district chief Thatree Boonmak said yesterday as he led officials to 10 villages in tambon Wang Din, which is usually hit by drought. Also joining the visit was provincial disaster-prevention director Natthawat Ketchan.
Thatree said the district office and related agencies planned to divert water from Nan River in tambon Nan Dan to a canal, from which water will be pumped into two large ponds with a combined capacity of 145,000 cubic metres, to feed the tap-water system.
This will ensure that the area has enough water for public consumption until May, when the rainy season is expected to begin, he added.
The provincial authorities also took the opportunity to have officials survey Uttaradit’s nine districts to check whether there is enough water for public consumption and irrigation.
Wirat Aunsa-art, president of the Tambon Wang Din Administrative Organisation, said his office has earmarked Bt400,000 for fuel for the water-pumping mission, which should be more effective than dispatching trucks to deliver water to houses.