IN A BID to ease the Northeast's drought woes, the government is going to spend Bt997 million on canal-dredging projects.
The programme will start next month and run until March next |year.
Jatuporn Buruphat, director-general of the Water Resources Department, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, told a press conference the ministry would join forces with the Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute to implement these projects.
“This year, the average rainfall marks the lowest in 30 years,” he said.
The Northeast is usually the region with the biggest drought risks. When the rainfall is particularly low, the threat of water shortages in the region is thus particularly high.
In fact, at present some 6,000 areas are already struggling with water shortages around the country. Nearly half – 2,846 – are in the Northeast.
The canal-dredging projects cover 13 northeastern provinces. Of them, Surin province has the highest number of projects at 25, followed by Nakhon Ratchasima with 14, and Khon Kaen with 13 projects. Funding for the projects in these provinces is Bt251 million, Bt138 million, and Bt143 million respectively.
Jatuporn said big cities in Isaan such as Khon Kaen and Nakhon Ratchasima were also at risk of water shortage.
Meanwhile, southern provinces face the risk of flash floods after downpours over recent weeks. Jatuporn warned that floods might hit Ranong and Chumphon in the near future.
“We have seen signs of floods. Locals should be on alert,” he said.
Several other southern provinces were already under flood water as of press time.
In Krabi province, floods had engulfed more than 100 rai (16 hectares) of farmland and local officials were busy delivering help to flood victims.
In Satun province, several schools were closed in the face of raging flood waters.
In Phatthalung province, tourists were warned not to enter the water at waterfall attractions because of the risk of flash floods.