Prayut pledges drought fix in Phayao
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has promised villagers in Phayao that a slew of new water-management projects being developed in the province will help ease drought there.
"The improved systems will allow us to store more water than in the past, when inefficient systems were used," he said during an inspection of Nong Leng Sai, a swamp in the drought-hit province.
Gen Prayut also expressed concerns about land encroachment, saying the land required to build reservoirs is often occupied by poor villagers.
He said the National Land Committee will be asked to consider providing non-transferable plots for these families to live and work on.
"Local officials will be asked to help train these villagers so they can make a living," he said.
Phayao has been hit by a severe drought since last year, and it is one of 20 provinces to be declared natural disaster zones since the start of the year.
While the drought began in the middle of last year, the effects of the water shortage have really been felt this year, as ponds which serve as the region's water supplies began to dry up.
The shortage has destroyed rice output in Dok Kham Tai district, where crops withered because of the drought.
To help mitigate the drought's impact, the government has launched a number of initiatives to improve water production and storage in the province.
Among the initiatives is the dredging of Nong Leng Sai, a large natural watershed area which until recently, was clogged by sediments.
Phayao, which is represented by Palang Pracharath Party MP and Deputy Agriculture Minister Thamanat Prompow, recently saw a spike in budget allocations.