Nine hospitals in Surin and Chaiyaphum provinces in the northeastern region are at risk of facing severe water shortages as the drought intensifies, Health Ministry spokesman Rungrueng Kitphati says.
Prasart Hospital in Surin has seen its water storage run low. In Chaiyaphum province, the eight hospitals at risk are Phakdi Chumphon, Kaset Sombun, Nong Bua Daeng, Sap Yai, Phu Khiao, Thep Sathit, Khon San, and Ban Thaen.
Water storage for general consumption is sufficient for seven days which meets the Health Department's requirement.
Yet Dr Rungrueng asked the public not to panic as the ministry has measures to deal with water scarcity.
"The ministry is digging wells to store underground water. Clinics and hospitals have been advised to reserve water and prepare for possible severe water shortages," he said.
Doctors have been instructed to be wary of water-borne disease and check the quality of water.
He said the public does not have to worry about the shortage affecting the quality of medical treatment as the ministry will supply water for those needs.
"Usually, hospitals do not produce their own prime quality water for medical treatment," Dr Rungrueng said. "They get supplies of hygienic water from other sources. So the drought will not affect the hospital's medical treatment."
Meanwhile, Agricultural Minister Chalermchai Sri-on said the Royal Irrigation Department (RID) has built 421 water projects to provide water equal to a catchment area of 1.2 million rai. This year space to store water will rise to cover an area of 176 thousand rai.
He said the wells will store flood water in the rainy season to use when drought hits.
"The wells give us many benefits. In the dry season, the water stored will be sufficient to all needs," he said.
In addition, he said, the department will construct 40,000 local community wells outside of irrigation areas, to store water to supply for community use and for agricultural activities in the dry season.