NAKHON PHANOM: The water level in the Mekong river in this northeastern border province is only about 1.50 metres high, possibly the lowest level in almost 100 years, according to local media reports.
As the dry spell continues, the water in the Mekong river has dropped by about 10-20 centimetres per day. It is now only about 1.50m high, about 11 metres below the spill-over point on the river bank.
The water level is now so low that a large rock on which a Buddha footprint is engraved is visible in the middle of the river.
The rock with the Buddha footprint in tambon Woen Phra Bat of Tha Uthen district, believed to be more than 2,000 years old and highly revered by people on both sides of the river, can usually be seen only in the dry season between March and April.
The water levels in all the Mekong river's tributaries including Nam Oun, Nam Songkhram and Nam Kam are also very low. Water levels in major reservoirs in the province's 12 districts are now at only 10-20% of their capacities. Rice fields in the areas they run through are now without water.
Farmers said their crops would die if there is no rain at all within a week.
Lai Sripeng, a 68-year-old farmer in tambon Woen Phra Bat, said it is the first time in her life she has seen the rock with the Buddha footprint in the Mekong river during the rainy season. This unnatural phenomenon is a sign that this year's drought will be critical, she said.
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