Thailand's Drought: Time to conserve water is now

Thailand's Drought: Time to conserve water is now

The big ceramic water jars that are traditionally used to store rain water in rural areas. The Metropolitan Waterworks Administration (MWA) says there's a drought in your future, so start storing at least 60 litres of water per family. (Bangkok Post file photo by Sarot Meksophawannakul)
The big ceramic water jars that are traditionally used to store rain water in rural areas. The Metropolitan Waterworks Administration (MWA) says there's a drought in your future, so start storing at least 60 litres of water per family. (Bangkok Post file photo by Sarot Meksophawannakul)

People in & around Bangkok must find new ways to save water (water conservation) from now until May. Water shortages from the ongoing drought are a real possibility.


Drought spurs call for home water savings

Apinya Wipatayotin

Households in and around Bangkok have been urged to store at least 60 litres of drinking water until May next year for possible water shortages.

If everyone takes steps to conserve water (water conservation), the impact of the drought and water shortages can be reduced.


There has been a reduction of Chao Phraya River water available to be used due to a problem of salt water intrusion, said Thanasak Watanathana, the governor of the Metropolitan Waterworks Authority (MWA). 

People living in Bangkok and nearby provinces, particularly Nonthaburi and Samut Prakan, to which the MWA supplies tap water, should prepare to deal with possible water shortages during the drought season which lasts from now until May next year.

There will be less water to provide tap water to households living in Bangkok, Nonthaburi and Samut Prakan provinces.


To limit the effects of possible shortages, people should prepare containers to keep at least 60 litres of water for consumption per household.

60 litres can be enough drinking water for about one week. But it is not enough for other uses.

"Reserving water should be standard practice for households to deal with the drought next year," Mr Thanasak said.

The Chao Phraya River will be at higher risk of salt water intrusion next year as water volumes released from dams will likely drop because of drought conditions. That will cause problems in tap water production.

Despite the reduced amount of water being released from dams, the MWA has assured the public that it would not stop supplying tap water to 12 million users, including various corporate and state organisations, in the three provinces (Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan).

Concerned about the lower amount of water available for tap water production, the MWA has already reduced tap water pressure from 11pm-5am starting this month, thus reducing the water supply in that period.

If there is high intrusion of salt water, the MWA will cut Chao Phraya River water usage by 10%.

Tap water production will then decrease from 5.4 million cubic metres per day to 5 million cubic meters.


Mr Thanasak said the possible water shortage would not be severe if everyone concerned takes action to save water (water conservation).

According to the MWA, the average amount of water usage has currently been reduced to 219.5 litres per person per day from 223.5 litres per person per day.

From this month, the MWA will give refunds of 100-200 baht for each water user who reduced consumption by 10% during its water-saving campaign between August and September.

There are 428,819 users who will receive refunds worth a total of 43.7 million baht. The campaign saved 8.96 million cubic meters of water.


Everyone who grew up in California (including the author) has had water conservation etched into their memory from a young age. 

Recently, Californians managed to cut water usage by 31% after strict conservation measures were imposed by Governor Jerry Brown (see here, here & here).

Here are some common sense water conservation rules.

Don't let the water run when you are not using it. For example turn off the water while you brush your teeth or shave.

The little jingle used to decide when to flush a western style toilet runs:

"If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down"

But don't forget “a flush a day keeps the stink away” (see here).

When taking a shower, turn on the water for a moment to get yourself wet, then soap and scrub your body and get it clean. Finally, turn on the water again for a short time to rinse the soap off (see here).

Taking a bath rather than a shower could conserve even more water.

Learn about a variety of different ways to conserve water here and in the infographic below:


Learn from listening

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  • assure: to tell someone that something is true or will definitely happen - ให้ความมั่นใจ, ยืนยัน
  • available: that you can get, use, find or buy - มีอยู่, หาได้
  • average: an amount calculated by adding several amounts together, finding a total, and dividing the total by the number of amounts - เฉลี่ย, ค่าเฉลี่ย
  • campaign: a planned group of especially political, business or military activities which are intended to achieve a particular aim - การรณรงค์
  • capital: the most important town or city of a country, usually where the central government operates from - เมืองหลวง
  • common sense: the ability to think about things in a practical way and make sensible decisions - การใช้ความคิดตัดสินเบื้องต้น, การตัดสินแบบพื้นๆ
  • concern: to cause to worry - ทำให้กังวล
  • concerned: involved in something, or affected by something - เกี่ยวข้องกับ ที่สัมพันธ์กับ
  • conditions: the circumstances or situation in which people live, work or do things - เหตุการณ์, สภาพการ, สถานการณ์
  • conservation: to conserve something; to keep and protect something from damage, change or waste สงวน,เก็บรักษา -
  • conserve: to keep and protect something from damage, change or waste - สงวน,เก็บรักษา
  • consumption: using, eating or drinking something - การบริโภค
  • container: something used for storing or holding things, for example a box, bottle, or bowl - ภาชนะใส่ของ, หีบบรรจุ
  • corporates: large companies - บริษัทใหญ่
  • cubic metre: the volume of a cube with edges one metre in length - ลูกบาศก์เมตร
  • currently: at this time; now - ในปัจจุบัน
  • dam: a wall built across a river to stop the water from flowing, especially in order to create a lake or to help to produce electric power - เขื่อน
  • deal with: to take action to solve a problem - จัดการปัญหา
  • drought (noun): a long period of time when there is little or no rain - ฝนแล้ง, ภัยแล้ง, ความแห้งแล้ง)
  • due to: because of - เนื่องจาก
  • etch: to cut lines into a piece of glass, metal, etc. in order to make words or a picture - แกะสลักโดยใช้ของแหลมหรือแสงเลเซอร์
  • flush: to make water pass through a toilet - กดชักโครก
  • governor: a person who is chosen to be in charge of the government of a state or province or a government agency - ผู้ว่าการรัฐ, ผู้ว่าราชการจังหวัด
  • household: a group of people, often a family, who live together - ครัวเรือน
  • impact (noun): an effect or influence - ผลกระทบ
  • intrusion (noun): when someone/something goes into a place or situation where they are not wanted or expected to be - การบุกรุก, การล่วงล้ำ
  • jingle: a little song, used in advertisements, that is difficult to get out of your head -
  • mellow: become better with age, soften or mature with age or experience. -
  • memory (noun): something that you remember from the past; the ability to remember information, experiences and people - ความจำ
  • Metropolitan Waterworks Authority (MWA): the department in charge of providing clean, safe drinking water to a city - การประปานครหลวง
  • moment: a very short period of time; a particular time or occasion - ชั่วขณะ, โอกาสสำคัญ
  • particularly: especially, or more than usual - โดยเฉพาะ
  • period: a particular length of time - ระยะเวลา
  • prepare (verb): put in order, get ready - เตรียม, เตรียมตัว, เตรียมพร้อม, จัดเตรียม, ตระเตรียม
  • pressure: a force pressing against something - ความกดดัน
  • production: the process of making goods or materials, especially large quantities - การผลิต
  • province: one of many divisions of the government of a country into smaller parts - จังหวัด
  • reduce: to make something smaller or less in amount, size, importance etc - ลดลง
  • reduction: the process or result of making something smaller or less in amount, size, importance etc - การลดลง
  • refund: a reimbursement; an amount of money that is given back to you - เงินที่คืนให้
  • release (verb): to let something move freely; to allow a substance to flow out from somewhere - ปล่อย
  • reserve: kept for use for something or someone - ที่จัดสรรไว้ สำรอง
  • rinse: to wash something with clean water only, not using soap - ชำระล้าง, ชะล้าง
  • risk: the possibility that something dangerous or unpleasant might happen - ความเสี่ยง
  • salt water: water with salt in it - ที่น้ำกร่อย , มีรสกร่อย
  • scrub: to wash or clean something by rubbing it hard, especially with a brush - ถูทำความสะอาดอย่างแรง ขัด, ขัดออก
  • season (noun): a period of time during the year - ฤดูกาล, ช่วงเวลา, ระยะเวลา
  • severe: very serious and worrying - ที่รุนแรง ที่น่าเป็นห่วง
  • shave: to make a part of your body smooth by cutting off the hair using a razor or shaver - โกน
  • shortage (noun): when there is not enough of something - การขาดแคลน
  • spur: to cause something to happen - ก่อให้เกิด 
  • standard practice: the way things are normally done - การปฏิบัติที่เป็นมาตราฐาน
  • stink: a very bad smell - กลิ่นเหม็น
  • store: to put and keep things in a special place for use in the future - เก็บ
  • supply: an amount or quantity of something that is available to use -
  • supply: to provide somebody/something with something that they need or want, especially in large quantities - จัดหาให้, จัดส่งให้
  • tap water: water that is sent through pipes into building - น้ำประปา
  • the public: people in general - ประชาชน, สาธารณชน, มหาชน
  • urge: to advise someone very strongly about what action or attitude they should take - ผลักดัน, กระตุ้น
  • usage (noun): how much someone uses a service, measured in minutes, for example - การใช้
  • variety (noun): many different types of things or people - ความหลากหลาย
  • volume (noun): an amount of something - ปริมาณ
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