Water shortage grips half of country - officials

Water shortage grips half of country - officials

In this March 12 photo, heavy machinery is used to repair the energy dissipation area of the Chao Phraya dam in Chai Nat. Low water levels caused by the drought have allowed repairs to take place in the normally submerged area. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
In this March 12 photo, heavy machinery is used to repair the energy dissipation area of the Chao Phraya dam in Chai Nat. Low water levels caused by the drought have allowed repairs to take place in the normally submerged area. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

More than half of Thailand is gripped by water shortages from the drought, according to the Department of Water Resources, but the irrigation chief remains positive that supplies can last until the rainy season if everyone steps up conservation efforts.

Supoj Tovichakchaikul, director-general of the Department of Water Resources, said on Wednesday 43 provinces across the country were being hit by water scarcity. They include: 

North -- Chiang Mai, Lampang, Lamphun, Phrae, Phayao.

Northeast -- Buri Ram, Surin, Chaiyaphum, Yasothon, Kalasin, Nong Khai, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Khon Kaen, Maha Sarakham, Mukdahan, Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Ratchasima, Sakon Nakhon, Si Sa Ket, Udon Thani .

Central --  Ang Thong, Nakhon Pathom, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Kamphaeng Phet, Nakhon Sawan, Chai Nat, Pathum Thani, Lop Buri, Uthai Thani, Suphan Buri.   

East – Chanthaburi, Chachoengsao, Trat, Prachin Buri.

West – Kanchanaburi, Ratchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan,Tak.    

South – Phangnga, Satun, Songkhla.  

Mr Supoj said 60 districts in 15 provinces had been declared drought disaster zones while water levels in all major rivers were still mostly low.   

The director-general the Royal Irrigation Department, Suthep Noipairot, was positive that the limited water supplies available would be enough for household consumption and maintaining aquatic ecosystems until July if all sectors helped to save water to the best of their ability.

He said there would be no need to extract water from the bases of dams to produce tap water as has been speculated by some observers if everyone used less water. 

Mr Suthep said the combined water volumes in the four main dams of the Chao Phraya River basin — Bhumibol, Sirikit, Kwai Noi Bamrung Dan and Pasak Jolasid dams — stood at about 2.7 billion cu/m as of Tuesday.

A combined 18 million cu2/m of water is being discharged from the four dams to household use daily, he added.   


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