Mother Nature has been cruel to the people of Ban Limthong, a Buri Ram farming village in the Northeast, but with new water management schemes like Raknam, it is coming to life.
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The Northeast is generally arid, but new water projects like the Raknam project are starting to change that. Photos courtesy of Coca Cola.
Note: If you ever need to explain His Majesty the King's kaem ling concept in English, the last two paragraphs of this story will be a big help to you.
Note: See below for audio
The Raknam Kaem Ling project
Mother Nature has been cruel to the people of Ban Limthong, a Buri Ram farming village in the Northeast.
The Northeast — the largest yet poorest area in the country — has been plagued by poor water management which allows just one rice harvest a year.
The village's natural condition is harsh and not conducive for farming, even though rice cultivation is the only livelihood available to many. The land is arid most of the year, except in the rainy season. But even the rain has not been that generous of late as floodwater often runs down the slope and inundates rice paddies and people's homes. Community leader Sanit Thipnangrong says villagers have been struggling. Royal Irrigation Department water systems such as dams, canals and water gates have not been built in this area.
Monkey’s cheek ponds help villagers to store water and prevent flooding.
"I have had a rough time in the past. By the end of the year, I don't know how many crops I can harvest. I had to take out a loan and face many problems," says the 48-year-old farmer.
Many villagers in Thailand suffer the same fate, and yet change has come in the Ban Limthong. The water management project called Raknam (Love Water) has helped improve the situation. Raknam is a Corporate Social Responsibility programme run by Coca-Cola. Since the company uses a large amount of water to produce their drinks, it has come up with a campaign to reduce the impact on the environment.
Launched in 2007, the project, as well as other water-management related projects under the company's CSR, helps return fresh water to the ecology. The company, which relies so much on water, has set a target of returning to communities the same amount of water as it uses in worldwide production units by 2020.
Abundant water supply allows children in the village to continue their education.
The Raknam project embraces the kaem ling, or monkey's cheek, idea initiated by His Majesty the King.
The origin of the kaem ling projects can be traced back to 1995 when an epic flood hit Bangkok. The King advised the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to excavate huge ponds — thus the metaphor of a monkey's sagging cheek — to help drain floodwater for Bangkok. Since then, kaem ling has become famous countrywide as a cheap and environmentally friendly method to manage water and combat flood and drought.
Kaem ling relies on the simple idea of using natural ponds to store and drain water alternately during the dry and rainy seasons. But Raknam isn't only about ponds. Apart from financing villagers to dig natural ponds, the campaign also provides water management knowledge to them.
Learn from listening
Click "play" to listen to The Raknam Kaem Ling project and "Download" to keep this file for educational purpose.
advise : to tell somebody what you think they should do in a particular situation - แนะนำ, แจ้ง
alternately (adverb): happening or following one after the other regularly - ซึ่งสลับกัน,ในตำแหน่งที่สลับกัน
arid : having little or no rain; very dry - แห้ง, แห้งแล้ง, ไม่มีความชื้น
Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) : the local government of Bangkok - กรุงเทพมหานคร
campaign : a series of actions intended to produce political or social change - การรณรงค์
cheek : on of the soft parts of your face below your eye and between your mouth and ear - แก้ม
combat (verb): to try to stop something unpleasant or harmful from happening or increasing - ต่อต้าน
community : the people living in one particular area - ชุมชน
condition : the physical state of a person, animal, thing or place - สภาพ
conducive : creating a situation that helps something to happen - ที่นำไปสู่, ที่ทำให้เกิดขึ้น
countrywide : throughout a whole country - ทั่วทั้งประเทศ
courtesy : provided free by a person or an organisation -
crop : a plant grown for food, usually on a farm - พืชผล
cruel : deliberately causing pain to other people or animals - ป่าเถื่อน โหดร้าย
cultivation : the preparation and use of land for growing plants or crops - การเตรียมดินสำหรับเพาะปลูก
drain : to cause water or fluid to flow out - ระบายออก
drought (noun): a long period of time when there is little or no rain - ฝนแล้ง, ภัยแล้ง, ความแห้งแล้ง)
ecology : the relationships between the air, land, water, animals, plants, etc., usually of a particular area - ความสัมพันธ์ระหว่างสิ่งมีชีวิตในระบบนิเวศน์
embrace : to accept something such as a belief, idea, or way of life - ยอมรับ น้อมนำมา
environment : the place in which people live and work, including all the physical conditions that affect them - สภาพแวดล้อม, สิ่งแวดล้อม
epic : an event or activity that lasts a long time and is difficult or complicated - งานที่ยิ่งใหญ่
excavate : to dig in the ground in order to find things from the past - การขุดซากดึกดำบรรพ์
fate : the things that happen or will happen to someone - ชะตากรรม
finance : to provide money for something - จัดหาเงินทุนให้
generous (adjective): more than is necessary - เหลือเฟือ, อุดมสมบูรณ์, เกินพอ
harsh (adjective): cruel, severe and unkind - กระด้าง, รุนแรง, ห้าว, เกรี้ยวกราด
harvest : to gather in ripe crops - เก็บเกี่ยว
impact (noun): an effect or influence - ผลกระทบ
initiate : to start something or make it start - ริเริ่ม
inundate : to flood; to submerge - ท่วม, ทำให้จมลงใต้น้ำ
launch (verb): to start something - เริ่มต้น, เปิดโครงการ, เริ่มทำ
livelihood : (the way someone earns) the money people need to pay for food, a place to live, clothing, etc - การดำรงชีวิต, การครองชีพ
loan : an amount of money that a person, business, or country borrows, especially from a bank - เงินกู้
metaphor : a word or phrase used to describe somebody/something else, in a way that is different from its normal use, in order to show that the two things have the same qualities and to make the description more powerful - คำอุปมา, คำเปรียบเทียบ
Mother Nature (noun): Mother Earth; the natural world, when you consider it as a force that affects the world and humans - แม่ธรณี
natural : existing in nature; not made or caused by humans - เป็นธรรมชาติ, ตามธรรมชาติ
origin : the point from which something starts or comes from - ที่มา, ต้นกำเนิด, จุดเริ่มต้น
paddy field : a field planted with rice growing in water - นาข้าว
plagued : caused a lot of problems for someone or something for a long period of time - ทำให้ยุ่งยาก ลำบากมานาน
pond : a small area of still water, especially one that is artificial - บ่อน้ำ, สระน้ำ
rough : difficult and unpleasant - ยากลำบาก, ไม่เป็นระเบียบ
Royal Irrigation Department : The Thai government department in charge of the country's irrigation system - กรมชลประทาน
sagging : falling to a lower level; becoming weaker or fewer - ตกต่ำ,เสื่อม,เสื่อมโทรม
slope : a straight surface that has one end higher than the other - พื้นที่ลาดเอียง, ที่ลาด
struggling : having serious difficulties - มีความยุ่งยาก
suffer : to be badly affected by a very difficult or unpleasant situation - ประสบความลำบาก
target : a particular number or amount that you want to achieve - เป้าหมาย
trace : to discover the cause or origin of something by examining the way in which it has developed - สืบหาร่องรอย