Authorities to take advantage of early rainy season

Authorities to take advantage of early rainy season

The Office of the National Water Resources (ONWR) has been told to take advantage of the early arrival of the rainy season to stock up on water supply for next year's summer.

ONWR has been instructed by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon to look for ways to save as much water throughout the rainy season, which has hit the country early this year. The water conserved will replenish reserves in many dams and reservoirs, which has experienced a substantial drop in water storage.  

Many parts of the country have been drenched by storms this month, which technically marks the peak of the summer. 

Somkiat Prajamwong, the ONWR secretary-general, said the season has come early, with precipitation exceeding the average for this time of year. 

The wet condition is forecast to last well into next month, he added. 

Since of the beginning of the month, more than 500 million cubic metres of rain has flowed into large reservoirs and dams nationwide. The highest inflow is reported in the North at 166 million cubic metres (m³), followed by the western region at 164 million m³.

Less rainfall is expected between July and August, before heavy rains sweep through much of the country in September. 

Gen Prawit, who directs the national water resources policies, has issued an instruction for the ONWR to coordinate with other agencies and local administrative organisations and figure out a plan to conserve water from the early rainy season. 

The more water saved, the less likely the country will face severe shortages, particularly in drought-prone areas next summer, according to Mr Somkiat. 

To date, dams and reservoirs nationwide hold a combined 39.2 billion m³ of water or 48% of storage on average. However, only 15.3 billion m³ of water is useable.

Low water level was reported in 12 large dams and reservoirs around the country. They include the Bhumibol Dam in Tak, Sirikit Dam in Uttaradit, Chulabhorn Dam in Chaiyaphum and Vajiralongkorn Dam in Kanchanaburi.

Similar conditions were reported in 88 medium-sized dams and reservoirs, most of which are located in the Northeast.

The nation's water reserves are being prioritised for consumption, maintaining the environment, farming and industrial use.  A water usage plan is under review as drought- and flood-prone areas are being mapped out.

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