B45m reservoir to benefit farmers in Ratchaburi
A 45-million-baht reservoir project royally initiated by His Majesty the King in Ratchaburi's Pak Tho district will be built in order to help solve drought and poverty in the area, the Royal Irrigation Department (RID) said recently.
The RID is responsible for the construction of the reservoir in Ban Pong Phrom of tambon Yang Hak.
When the project is completed, it will have a capacity to retain a maximum of 1.1 million cubic metres of water, which should be enough to sustain more than 900 rai of farmland and 200 families in the area.
Presently, the RID is seeking permission from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation to use part of its land in the district for construction which is expected to begin in 2022.
It said that once construction is complete, there will be a total of six reservoirs with a capacity to retain water at a maximum of 3.3 million cubic metres to ensure there is enough water for 7,300 rai of farmland in the area.
Suchart Kanchanawilai, director of Ratchaburi's irrigation project, said the project was initiated by His Majesty the King.
Mr Suchart said His Majesty visited the area on April 10, 1991, when he was Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn.
At that time, tambon Yang Hak was an arid area. Farmers were able to grow only one crop a year due to low rainfall.
The average annual rainfall at that time was only 1,100mm.
This was not enough to meet the demands of 7,300 rai of farmland and 7,000 local people.
"Whenever we have enough water in the area, we are sure that farmers will be able to earn more from growing vegetables and fruit,'' he said, saying that since 1991, a total of five reservoirs in the area have been built.
Thawil Tingthong, in charge of Hin-Si reservoir and a former kamnan of tambon Yang Hak, who asked the then Crown Prince to assist farmers, said the farmers had suffered a lot from drought.
"These reservoirs changed the livelihoods of the farmers because they could grow a variety of fruits and sell them at Sri Muang market, which is the major wholesale market in Ratchaburi," Mr Thawil said.
"Pipes are connected from the reservoirs to their farmland," he added.
A variety of fruits including papaya, banana, jackfruit, rambutan, durian, grapefruit, and santol can be grown in the area, he said.
Chan Tongwhee, head of Ban Phu Krude reservoir, said before the construction of these reservoirs, farmers here could grow only, maize, tapioca and cotton.
"After the completion of this reservoir in 1995, farmers started growing vegetables and fruit and they saw their income increase to at least 200,000-500,000 baht per year, which is far more than the 10,000 baht per year they earned previously," Mr Chan said.
Moreover, most farmers in the area were able to send their children to university after which they returned home to help their parents develop their fruit garden orchards, he said.