Cabinet approves water command centre

Cabinet approves water command centre

A local road along a canal in Pathum Thani has collapsed. Drought removes moisture from the soil, resulting in subsidence. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
A local road along a canal in Pathum Thani has collapsed. Drought removes moisture from the soil, resulting in subsidence. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

The cabinet is expected to approve the formation of a water management command centre on Tuesday, spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinsawat said on Sunday.

The command centre is sanctioned by Section 24 of the 2018 Water Act, which calls for the set-up of a central coordinating unit to oversee water-related crises. It will be chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, in the hope of improving the government's responses to water crisis management, she said.

Ms Narumon said the centre's tasks will mainly revolve around four areas -- forecasting, public warning and communication, management and administration. As drought conditions continue, the navy is prepared to send boats to help push out salty sea water from inland rivers where seawater intrusion has been detected, according to Vice Admiral Prachachart Sirisawat, deputy chief-of-staff of the Royal Thai Navy.

The decision was taken after taken after Samlae water production plant in Pathum Thani reported higher salinity in its output as water levels along the Chao Phraya river level continues to drop due to the drought -- rendering its current too weak to keep out seawater from the Gulf of Thailand from rushing in at high tide.

The World Health Organisation recommends individuals to limit their daily intake of salt at 2,000 milligrammes and advises people to not drink tap water if it contains more than 200mg and 250mg of sodium and chlorine per litre respectively. According to the Metropolitan Waterworks Authority (MWA), its tap water contains about 100-150mg of sodium per litre.

Meanwhile, water is being diverted from the Lam Ta Khong dam in Si Khiu district to Non Sung district, where all water sources have dried up, Nakhon Ratchasima governor Wichian Chantaranothai said yesterday. Mr Wichian said eight tambons in Non Sung district is suffering from serious water shortages.


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