Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has ordered her government to develop long-term solutions to drought which is currently affecting more than 30 provinces.
RUNNING ON EMPTY: A drought-affected section of the Ping River in Lamphun’s Wiang Nong Long district.
Speaking on the weekly Yingluck Government Meets the People television programme on NBT, the prime minister said she had discussed the situation on Friday with governors of 29 affected provinces and officials from various ministries.
She said drought was a serious concern as people in affected areas would have to live through it for three months.
In the short term, water sources must be developed and more artesian wells established, she said. Households will also be taught water saving techniques.
"I directed the ministries to come up with a long-term plan for sustainable water resource management to ensure there will be sufficient water for household use across the country," she said.
The government's 350 billion baht water management and flood prevention programme will also include measures to give drought-affected areas access to more water, she said.
The single command system, which centralises disaster control operations and proved effective in dealing with the 2011 floods, will be used to deal with other natural disasters, including drought, she said.
Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi said the water management programme aimed to secure water resources across the country.
"With the existing technology and marketing opportunity, this project can be done," he said.
"It will help prevent a recurrence of devastating floods and will supply water to provinces facing drought. Thailand will definitely be better off in the next five years."
The 33 provinces hit by drought have been declared emergency disaster zones, the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department said yesterday.
The number of drought hit provinces increased from 23, the number reported by the department on Feb 1.
The affected provinces are scattered nationwide, but are mostly concentrated in the North and Northeast.