The water supply in Lam Takhong is critically low after a long absence of rain, officials said Sunday.
Suttiroj Kongkaew, director of the Lam Takhong Operation and Maintenance Project in Nakhon Ratchasima, said the volume of water in Lam Takhong dam in Sikhiu district had dropped to 65 million cubic metres out of the dam's total capacity of 373.64 million cu/m.
It was the lowest water level in a decade, he said.
However, he added, the 700,000 cu/m of water released from the dam every day would still be adequate for tap water production and water supply for farmland.
The water released from Lam Takhong dam flows along the Mun River which passes 88 communities covering 120 kilometres in five districts: Sikhiu, Sung Noen, Kham Thale So, Muang and Chalerm Phrakiat, he said.
"Next week, Lam Takhong dam officers will discuss how to tackle the drought problem with local authorities," Mr Suttiroj added.
"We will find a way to manage the remaining water volume in the dam productively so the water will be sufficient for both consumption and ecosystem restoration," he said.
Meanwhile, Suthep Noipairoj, deputy director-general of the Royal Irrigation Department (RID), said he considered the water situation at Lam Takhong a crisis and the province faced a water shortage due to a lack of rainfall.
He expected the dam to run out of its 5.5 billion cu/m of total water supply by the end of this month, which will directly affect farmlands in the province.
Mr Suthep said the RID is preparing to stop releasing water for agricultural purposes, and to reserve the water for consumption only.
The RID will also talk to the Meteorological Department (MD) tomorrow to assess the rainfall situation, he said.
The release of water will be halted if the MD confirms there is no rainfall.
Mr Suthep added that 3.8 billion cu/m of water would have been available for farmlands this month and next if the rain had started in May, the beginning of the rainy season, and replenished the dam.
However, the drought had continued into this month so the dam water volume had continued to drop significantly.
Around 10 billion cu/m of water is normally required for 9.2 million rai of farmland in irrigation areas along the Chao Phraya River.
However, the water volume has decreased to 1.7 billion cu/m which is only enough for about 20 days.
As for the other four dams on the river, Mr Suthep said their water supply may also not be enough for agriculture.