Prayut: China, Laos, Myanmar asked to release water

Prayut: China, Laos, Myanmar asked to release water

Yao Kaewsikhao tries to save a dry paddy field in Nong Kung Si district of Kalasin province. (Photo by Yongyut Phuphuangphet)
Yao Kaewsikhao tries to save a dry paddy field in Nong Kung Si district of Kalasin province. (Photo by Yongyut Phuphuangphet)

The government has asked China, Laos and Myanmar to release more water into rivers to help relieve the drought conditions in Thailand, and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said they are cooperating.

There had been talks with China, Laos and Myanmar, asking them to release more stored water so it would reach downstream regions, Gen Prayut said.

They were cooperating well, although they had limited water in reserve. The Foreign Ministry and the Office of National Water Resources would continue the negotiations, the prime minister said.

Gen Prayut expressed his concern about farmers' livelihoods, saying only 40% of farmland was irrigated.

"I am worried about farmers because they have invested much but there is a water shortage. Irrigation must be limited to maintain tap water production and protect consumers. The government will offer assistance to relieve the damage," he said.

Prasong Prapaitrakul, director-general of the Rice Department, said scarce rainfall had affected about 10 million rai of paddy fields in 20 provinces in the North, Northeast and Central Plains.

The Thai Rice Exporters Association warned that unless it rains early next month, the water shortage would cut rice production and rice prices would rise in the second half of this year.


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