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Water festival more important than water shortage

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45 drought provinces declared disaster areas but Songkran is a time to travel back home & reunite with families, so the show must go on. 

Water fights with Songkran water guns.

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WATER FESTIVAL

Water World

12 Apr 2013
Anchalee Kongrut

There is a water shortage in the Northeast but the high point of Thailand's summer is marked by Songkran, the traditional New Year water festival celebrated here as well as in several other Southeast Asian countries.

People in the Northeast are usually hardest hit by the lack of water and drought. This year, 45 provinces have already been declared disaster areas by the government. The majority are in the northeast.

However, Songkran is more important than the water shortage

For many provinces, the festival means happiness - a time when migrant workers living in Bangkok return home to reunite with their families. For business, it is a time when money flows along with the water.

Khon Kaen province, declared a disaster zone, has created the slogan "spray not splash" to help people remember to conserve water.

The water shortage in Khon Kaen has reached a critical level as the water in Ubolrat Dam has sharply dropped to 30% of its usual storage level - the lowest in a decade.

Bangkok and Chiang Mai will continue their merry-making without much worry. Silom and Khao San roads in Bangkok will be packed with revellers.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) reportedly expects the five-day festival to generate more than 11 billion baht for the tourism industry. It is expected that 100 million baht will be generated on Khao San Road alone during the festival.

For Bangkok, Nonthaburi and Samut Prakan provinces, total daily water consumption is 5.2 million cubic metres. During the summer, water consumption - mostly from showers - increases to 100,000 cubic metres per day. The MWA estimates that water splashing during the Songkran festival in the capital and its vicinities will add another 100,000 cubic metres to daily demand.

On April 13 during last year's Songkran, people in Bangkok, Nonthaburi and Samut Prakan provinces consumed an additional 100,000 cubic metres of water - presumably for splashing to celebrate Songkran..

According to the Metropolitan Waterworks Authority (MWA), that amount of water was added to tap water system.

For the sake of comparison, that amount of water would need 8,333 12-tonne trucks for storage. If those 8,333 trucks were lined up, the total length would be 100km - the distance from Bangkok to Sara Buri province.

Khao San Road is perhaps the most famous spot for Songkran festivities in Thailand. Foreigners and local teenagers flock to the narrow road

In addition to water, powder is also popular and can soothe pimples and cool off heat. Yet water-soaked powder can be an agent of germs.

Germ-contaminated powder can cause severe eye infections and even poisoning if ingested orally.

The powder can also stick to cars and damage their paintwork

Decades ago, children would accept it if parents gave them buckets to splash water during Songkran. But nowadays, children will not settle for less than fancy water guns.

Models vary and prices start from 10 baht for a basic old-fashioned pistol to premium models priced at over 300 baht with features such as a backup storage containers that allows you to spray more water.

Since it's not possible to carry buckets from home, while on the road making a splash revellers might buy bottles of drinking water to refill their water guns or buy water from shops in the area.

Last year, small water trucks from the MWA couldn't reach Khao San Road, so visitors had to buy water from shops on the street, a lucrative business.

According to the MWA, shops usually sell water at a rip-off rate. Tap water from the MWA is very cheap - 12 baht per 1,000 litres, or 0.012 baht per litre. Drinking water is sold at 5 baht for one litre. 

(Source: Bangkok Post, WATER FESTIVAL, Water World, 12 Apr 2013, Anchalee Kongrut, link


Water Festival Vocabulary


Songkran - Water Festival, Thai traditional New Years, taking place at the height of the hot season with lots of water throwing สงกรานต์ (See Wikipedia)

splash - when water jumps up or at something or someone กระฉอก กระเด็น
splash water

spray -
when water breaks up into little pieces or drops น้ำกระเซ็น, กระเซ็นเป็นละอองน้ำ,ฉีด,พ่น, ปล่อยออกเป็นฝอย
spray water


shortage - when there is not enough of something การขาดแคลน
water shortage

traditional - things (clothes, music, customs, etc.) that have been part of a country or society for a long time
the traditional New Year water festival

celebrate - have a party , do something fun because something good happened ฉลอง

lack - do not have ขาดแคลน
lack of water

drought - a period of time when there is very little rain and water available ความแห้งแล้ง (See Wikipedia)
hardest hit by the drought

disaster - something very bad that happens and causes a lot of damage ความหายนะ ภัยพิบัติ
disaster area
declared
a disaster area

majority - most, more than 50% ส่วนมาก ส่วนใหญ่ เสียงส่วนใหญ่
the majority are in the northeast

migrant - moving from one place to another อพยพ
migrant worker - someone who travels to another place or country in order to find work (an immigrant is someone who comes to live in a country from another country) ผู้อพยพ

reunite - to bring together again รวมกันใหม่
return home to reunite with their families

slogan - a short easily remembered phrase, especially one used to advertise an idea or a product สโลแกน
the slogan "spray not splash"

conserve - to keep and protect something from waste or damage สงวน,เก็บรักษา
conserve water

The water shortage in Khon Kaen has reached a critical level as the water in Ubolrat Dam has sharply dropped to 30% of its usual storage level - the lowest in a decade.

critical - extremely important because a future situation will be affected by it สำคัญยิ่ง
the situation reached a critical level

storage - the putting and keeping of things in a special place for use in the future การเก็บ
the water in the dam dropped to 30% of its usual storage level

decade - a period of ten years ทศวรรษ, ระยะเวลา 10 ปี
the water was at the lowest level in a decade

merry-making -
having a fun time, having a party 
revellers - partiers, people having a party, having a fun time together (especially at a noisy party)
packed - crowded; full of people or things แน่น

packed with revellers

generate - create สร้าง กระตุ้นให้เิกิด to produce ก่อให้เกิด
the five-day festival to generate more than 11 billion baht

expected - believe will happen คาดว่า (จะเกิดขึ้น)
It is expected that 100 million baht will be generated on Khao San Road alone

consumption
- using, eating or drinking something การบริโภค
water consumption 

estimates - guesses of what the size, value, amount, cost, etc. of something might be การประมาณค่า
estimates that demand will increase by 100,000 cubic metres

capital - the central city for government in a country (Bangkok)
vicinity - the area around a place
the capital and its vicinities

demand - the need and desire to buy goods and services by households and businesses  ความต้องการ
add another 100,000 cubic metres of water to daily demand

tap -
the metal thing in the wall that water comes out of when you turn it on
tap water system -

line up - standing in a line, one after another
trucks lined up

spot - place
festivities - the parties, meals and other social activities with which people celebrate a special occasion การเฉลิมฉลอง
the most famous spot for Songkran festivities

local
- in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about ท้องถิ่น
flock - to go someone in large numbers; to gather together in large numbers แห่กันไป
Foreigners and local teenagers flock to the narrow road

narrow - not wide; having a small distance from one side to the other, especially in comparison with the length แคบ
the narrow Khao San Road

soak -
to make wet with water
water-soaked powder

agent -
something that causes something to happen
germ
- a small bacteria, virus or other disease carrying thing
agent of germs


contaminated -
made dirty, polluted or poisonous by the addition of a chemical, waste or infection
germ-contaminated

soothe - make what hurts feel good, relieve pain 
soothe pimples

cool off - make feel less hot
cool off heat

severe - very serious and worrying ที่รุนแรง ที่น่าเป็นห่วง
infection - when a disease-causing germ (bacteria, virus) enters the body and causes damage การติดเชื้อ
severe eye infections
poison - be a chemical that can make you sick or even die ทำให้เป็นพิษ

ingest -
to eat like food, to put in mouth and smallow
orally -
using the mouth
ingested orally

stick - attach to, to be on something ติด
the powder can also stick to cars

parents gave children buckets to splash water during Songkran

settle - to reach a decision or an agreement about something แก้ปัญหา
children will not settle for less than fancy water guns.

models - different designs or types of a product

premium - special features or service that you pay extra for
premium models

vary - are different
models vary

old-fashioned - the old kind; from the past, not the new kind
pistol - a small gun that you hold in one hand ปืนพก,ปืนสั้น
a basic old-fashioned pistol water gun

backup - a second one to use if you cannot use the first one
storage -
a place to keep something until you need to use it ที่เก็บ
container -
a thing to put something in (example: a plastic bag to put the food you bought in) ภาชนะใส่ของ
backup storage container
a backup storage containers that allows you to spray more water.

lucrative - profitable, earning a lot of money ที่มีกำไรงาม
selling water is a lucrative business

rip-off - stealing something
shops sell water at a rip-off price

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