Alarm over drastic drop in dam levels

Alarm over drastic drop in dam levels

Fears of severe drought next year

The low level of useable water in the country's four major dams have raised concerns over the likelihood of serious, widespread droughts during the dry season next year.

The volume of water currently stored in the country's four key dams accounts for just 47% of their combined capacity. Only 27% of the overall water in the dams can be used, said the Royal Irrigation Department yesterday.

As of Nov 29, the combined water volume in Bhumibol, Sirikit, Khwae Noi and Pasak Jolasid dams stood at 11,682 million cubic metres or 47% of the four dams' combined capacity, said the department's Smart Water Operation Centre (SWOC). The Bhumibol dam in Tak province on Friday had a total of 5,802 million cu/m of water, or about 43% of the dam's capacity, of which only 2,002 million cu/m can be used, said the centre.

Sirikit dam in Uttaradit has 5,091 million cu/m of water or 54% of its capacity with only 2,241 million cu/m being usable. Khwae Noi dam in Phitsanulok currently stores 478 million cu/m of water, or 51% of its capacity, of which only 435 million cu/m can be drawn for use. Pasak Jolasid dam in Lop Buri reports a storage of 311 million cu/m of water, or 32% of capacity, of which only 308 million cu/m can be used, according to the SWOC.

Drought is already taking a toll in some areas of the country. In Nakhon Ratchasima's Non Thai district, the Bueng Sa Chorakhe marsh, which contributes to tap water consumed by more than 200 households in the district, has reportedly dried up.

The Second Army Region, the provincial disaster prevention and mitigation office and the Non Thai municipality have been working to source water from a nearby province for use in tap water production, a source said. Baen Sattayawong, an official at the provincial disaster prevention and mitigation office, said the marsh has run dry for several months.

Thailand has experienced an unusual lack of rain, which has adversely affected the farming sector, especially the rice industry. Authorities fear the lack of rain will affect harvests in general until next year.

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