Drought easing after heavy rain, says minister

Drought easing after heavy rain, says minister

Two-month dry spell at an end, according to Chalermchai

A woman walks through dry paddy fields in drought-hit Nakhon Ratchasima province. (Photo by Prasit Tangprasert)
A woman walks through dry paddy fields in drought-hit Nakhon Ratchasima province. (Photo by Prasit Tangprasert)

The crisis in many drought-hit provinces is likely to ease after widespread rain across several regions ended a two-month dry spell and boosted reservoir levels, Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chalermchai Sri-on said on Friday.

Addressing concerns about water shortages on the second day of the government's policy debate in parliament, Mr Chalermchai said two of the country's main reservoirs -- the Sirikit and Bhumibol dams -- are filling up and have received 40 million cubic metres of water.

He said most rain-making operations have been successful and should temporarily alleviate the drought in several provinces in the northern, northeastern and central regions. 

As part of long-term water-management measures, the Royal Irrigation Department will survey all reservoirs and other water sources and build monkey cheeks (kaem ling) water-retention areas for the dry season, he said.

The minister said more water-catchment areas near the Sirikit and Bhumibol dams are deemed necessary to help drought-hit farmers.

Senator Gen Danai Meechuwate agreed that the country needs more water-catchment areas, and suggested dredging canals and rivers to increase their storage capacity.

Authorities reported that water levels in several dams increased yesterday after widespread rainfall.

The Lam Pao dam in Kalasin received 2.79 million cubic metres of water after heavy rain and this was considered sufficient for household consumption for now, though the water situation for agricultural purposes would have to be closely assessed.

The Meteorological Department forecast is for more rain for the North, the Northeast, the Central Plains and the eastern region next week.



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