Central Plains rain-making effort steps up

Central Plains rain-making effort steps up

Artificial rainmaking operations are stepping up in the Central Plains in the hope of filling dams where water is depleting due to drought, authorities say. 

The Wang River, one of the tributaries of the Chao Phraya River, has almost dried up in Ban Wang Man, Sam Ngao district of Tak yesterday. The village is located downstream of the Bhumibol dam which is running low on water. Thiti Wannamontha

The mission, which kicked off yesterday, will be carried out until the drought subsides. 

The officials said the royal rainmaking station in Nakhon Sawan will deploy four aircraft to make rain. The station will be responsible for the agricultural areas of 14 provinces in the Chao Phraya River basin.

Distorn Vajarodaya, Grand Chamberlain of the Bureau of the Royal Household, and Warawut Khantiyanan, director-general of the Department of Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation, inspected the station yesterday.

Mr Distorn said the station will be responsible for filling dams and providing help in farming areas. 

The mission came after His Majesty the King last week expressed concern over the intensifying drought and asked the government to accelerate efforts to create artificial rain for farmers. 

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry to monitor climate and cloud conditions in the Northeast in preparation for conducting artificial rainmaking, said deputy government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd. 

The planes will be sent up as soon as the cloud conditions are right, Maj Gen Sansern said, adding that the mission would help farmers who are starting to grow new crops. 

The current water level in the Chao Phraya River remains low in Chai Nat's Sapphaya district which lies upstream from the Chao Phraya dam. The water is now 60 centimetres lower than the critical level of 14 metres above sea level. 

Freight services have been suspended on the river between Chai Nat's Manorom district and Uthai Thani's Muang district.

Meanwhile, Maj Gen Sansern said the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry aims to take back 3,000 irrigation projects currently handled by local administration organisations (LAO).

The projects, in which small reservoirs have been built nationwide, have failed to channel water to farmland properly.

The return of the projects to the ministry would help improve water distribution, the spokesman said.

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