Govt says it's ready to deal with flood risk
The Royal Irrigation Department is preparing to deal with an increased risk of flooding with greater volumes of rain expected this year.
The department predicts that overall water volumes will this year be higher than last year, its chief Prapit Chanma, said.
Mr Prapit said the department has projected it will see 5.9 billion cubic metres (m³) of water by the time the rainy season concludes at the end of October.
There were 5 billion m³ of water last year, he said.
He said the department's regional irrigation offices will have measures in place to deal with flooding.
Mr Prapit said that the department had success with its water management over the dry season with no zone declaring they were suffering from a drought-like crisis.
This, he said, was due to improved cooperation between stakeholders despite how water use went beyond water management plans.
From last year to the end of April, the country consumed 22.99 billion m³ of water which was slightly higher than the planned amount of 22.28 billion m³.
There also ended up being 8.11 million rai worth of plantations countrywide, compared with 6.41 million rai that had been planned.
"For water use in the rainy season, we have suggested farmers make use of water from rainfall as much as possible," Mr Prapit said.
"And the department will discharge water to them in case of need only," he said.
"We will keep water in the dams as much as possible for the dry season next year."
Mr Prapit added that the department has already deployed 5,382 flooding-operation units to all regional irrigation offices countrywide in preparation for the expected heavy rains.
Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister, Chalermchai Sri-on, said that each river basin should have its own plan for water management.
Each situation is different, he said, and so they each have particular needs.
Mr Chalermchai added that each stakeholder should be proactive in their water-saving efforts even if there is a high volume of water stocked in reservoirs.
The Thai Meteorological Department said that the amount of rainfall this year is expected to be slightly higher than the average, by around 3%.