Sunday, September 20, 2020

Thailand’s ‘rice basket’ still short of water despite storm Sinlaku

Aug 06. 2020
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By The Nation

Water management plans have been tightened after tropical storm Sinlaku failed to fill the four giant dams of the Chao Phraya River basin, threatening rice crops.

Somkiat Prajamwong, secretary-general of National Water Resources, said the storm swelled Sirikit Dam in Nan province, resulting in 250 million cubic metres of new water in the four Chao Phraya basin dams. The dam expects to receive another 337 million cubic metres from August 5-7, he added.

On August 4, the four dams contained a total 838 million cubic metres of water – 137 cubic metres million in Bhumibol Dam, 531 million in Sirikit Dam, 86 million in Kwai Noi Bumrung Dan Dam and 84 million Pasak Jolasid Dam.

Meanwhile, the Chao Phraya Dam is releasing 60 cubic metres per second for rice and other crops in the river basin. Of the expected annual 3,250 million cubic metres of water, 75 per cent has already been used, leaving only 815 million cubic metres for the rice crop in 2020 (as of July 29.) Rice is being grown on 3.54 million rai in the basin, or 43.8 per cent of planned 8.10 million rai.

With levels in the four dams still lower than in 2019, the National Water Command Centre has tasked responsible agencies with strictly controlling water according to demand.

The centre is seeking to maximise Chao Phraya basin water resources via the irrigation network and by planning for monsoon rains in August and September.

Meanwhile the centre is closely monitoring floods left by storm Sinlaku that have hit 13 northern provinces and about 20,000 households.

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