Dry weather hits 35 provinces

A total of 35 provinces have been hit by the seasonal drought but authorities say they are better prepared this year with backup water supplies.

  • Published: 23/02/2013 at 03:55 PM
  • Newspaper section: topstories

People in as many as 25,014 villages are currently being affected by dry conditions, according to Chatchai Promlert, the director-general of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department.

Mr Chatchai said Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra had ordered state agencies to be prepared in advance for dry conditions, which occur with varying degrees of severity nearly every year between January and May.

The Lam Takong reservoir is currently filled to just 35% of its capacity. (Post file photo)

Officials have been preparing since October with a "2P" - prevention and preparation - strategy under a "single command" management system, he said on the "Yingluck Government Meets the People" programme on NBT on Saturday.

State agencies have refilled water in 49,000 public water tanks nationwide, with a combined 100 million litres, for household use as needed, he added.

Mr Chatchai said the government had already spent 889 million baht to ease potential drought problems.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Preecha Rengsomboonsuk said water pumps were ready in every province. In the event that the dry spell continues until April, the pumps would be deployed to supply water to houses and farmlands.

In addition, he said, the ministry had drilled additional underground wells to ensure there would be enough water for household and agricultural use.

A total of 29 of the 32 districts in Nakhon Ratchasima have been declared drought disaster zones by the provincial governor.

More than 500,000 people in 2,214 villages in these districts were being affected and about 880,000 rai of farmland had been damaged.

In Ban Non Somboon in tambon Maklua Kao in Sung Noen district, 90 households have had no water for daily use, reports said. The village's only source of water, Non Somboon reservoir with a capacity of 42,000 cubic metres of water, has dried up.

Ekachai Prompanchai, chairman of the tambon administration organisation, said five of 20 villages in the sub-district were hard hit and local people had no water for daily use.

His administration has placed large concrete water tanks in each village and asked for water trucks from Army Region 2 to refill the tanks, but more help is needed.

Anumas Thongthaem, director of the Nakhon Ratchasima-based 8th Irrigation Office, said water levels in the province's four main reservoirs were declining.

Lam Takong reservoir now has 110.9 million cubic metres of water, or 35% of its capacity. Lam Phra Phloeng has 59 million cu m (53.8%), Lam Sae 135 million (49%) and Lam Moon Bon 45 million cu m (32%).

However, ML Anumas expressed confidence that water remaining in the four dams would be sufficient for household use in Nakhon Ratchasima municipality.

The municipality needs 500,000 cubic metres a day for producing tap water, or 15 million cu m a month, he said.

Lam Takong still has more than 110 million cubic metres of water and it would be no problem for it to release 30 million for the municipality for two months, he added.

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