Call for manufacturers to cut water usage
The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) is urging businesses to cut water consumption to help reduce the adverse effects from the intensifying drought.
JSCCIB chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree said he expected to see a 20-30% drop in water consumption from now through the end of June, when the dry season is expected to end.
"We will focus on encouraging large manufacturing companies that consume massive volumes of water to help reduce water consumption by at least 20%," he said.
According to an agreement made by relevant private and government agencies and major water consumers, including businesses, the Royal Irrigation Department and the Ministry of Agriculture, 66% of total water from the country's major reservoirs has been allocated for the agricultural sector. Another 7.3% has been set aside for the industrial sector, 10.2% is for personal consumption, 15.4% is needed to mitigate for saltwater intrusion, and the remaining 0.43% is for the tourism sector.
Mr Supant said that while the country's industrial sector had yet to be affected by the drought, it had prepared itself by reserving ample supplies of water.
The agriculture sector, by contrast, is the one most likely to be hit by water shortages, and its effects would ripple throughout the entire Thai economy, he said.
"Low revenues in the agricultural sector will cut demand for products manufactured by the industrial sector. That's why we have to lend a helping hand to each other," he said.
Mr Supant said the committee also reviewed economic conditions in January and saw that there were some negative signs indicating a persistent slowdown in several sectors.
Thai exports, for example, fell 8.9% in January from a year earlier -- the biggest contraction in three years -- because of stagnation in several markets.