PWA begins rationing in three provinces
The Provincial Waterworks Authority (PWA) has begun rationing water in three provinces as the severity of the drought, expected to be far worse than last year, has started to affect tap water production.
Ratana Kitchawan, the PWA's director, yesterday said three branches of the PWA are rationing water in three provinces to conserve water for tap water production as several regions of the country face water shortages due to severe drought.
The three PWA branches are Kaeng Khro in Chaiyaphum, Tha Tako in Nakhon Sawan and Nong Rua in Khon Kaen.
Ms Ratana also urged the public, particularly residents in Bangkok and its outskirts, to use water sparingly, suggesting people reserve water for consumption in preparation for a possible water shortage.
In the East, Ms Ratana said salty water has intruded into the Bang Pakong River which directly affected tap water production at the PWA's Bang Pakong and Bang Khla branches in Chachoengsao province.
To address the problem, the PWA used water redirected from its other branches as well as water purchased from the private sector to help push out salty water.
Salt water intrusion has not affected the central provinces. However, the PWA is closely monitoring the situation and is seeking water sources in reserve such as Ban Moh Lake in Saraburi, she added.
Ms Ratana said more than 2 billion baht was also allocated to a survey on artesian wells and private firms' catchments in the PWA's 55 branches nationwide and located in drought-prone areas.
Meanwhile, assistant government spokesman Atisith Chainuvati said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will visit Nakhon Sawan and Chai Nat provinces tomorrow to collect feedback on the government's measures and listen to problems of residents.
Col Atisith said the premier will also be accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda, Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chatchai Sarikulya and Natural Resources and Environment Minister Surasak Kanjanarat during what will be monthly visits.
Tomorrow, Gen Prayut will inspect a knowledge centre to enhance agricultural products in Nakhon Sawan's Banphot Phisai district and the Ban Nong Du Reservoir Rehabilitation Project in Chai Nat's Nong Mamong district.
Col Atisith said the reservoir rehabilitation project was established to conserve water for use during the dry season. The capacity of the reservoir is 800 billion cubic metres.
Col Atisith added that, as a result of the severe drought, some 12,315 villagers nationwide were willing to refrain from growing off-season rice at the government's suggestion. They instead planted alternative crops such as maize and mung bean which consume less water.
Veerasak Srikawi, director of the Srinakarin dam in Uttaradit, said the dam held 12 billion cu/m of water, or 72% of its capacity while the Vajiralongkorn dam, another major dam in Kanchanaburi, contained 5 billion cu/m, or 56% of its capacity.
He said the combined water volume in the two dams available for consumption was 4.4 billion cu/m, with none available for second-crop cultivation or fish or shrimp ponds.