A Cabinet meeting, presided over by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, yesterday approved a budget of Bt721 million for two projects to tackle next year's drought, Government Spokesman Maj-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said yesterday.
The first was a Bt604-million project to build 30 “monkey cheek” water retaining areas in five Northeastern provinces: Nakhon Phanom (9), Nong Khai (6), Bung Kan (4), Loei (3) and Mukdahan (8). It will be overseen by the Royal Irrigation Department.
Sansern said such “monkey cheek” areas – with a combined storage capacity of 12.77 million cubic metres of water before it poured into the Mekong River – would benefit 14,680 rai of land and 6,030 households.
The second project was a Bt117-million plan to build sandbag check dams at 526 locations along small canals nationwide.
They would boost waterway efficiency and store about 51.73 million cubic metres in total, benefiting 300,000 rai of land and over 20,000 households, he said.
This project would be overseen by the Interior Ministry’s local administration organisations.
The idea and planning for these two projects had already been approved in principle by the September 16 Cabinet meeting.
As the rainy season draws to a close, many were concerned the stored water in Thailand might not be enough for use in farming next year.
However, Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department chief Chatchai Phromlert yesterday warned the public of more expected rainfall in the North and Northeast during October 1-5 and instructed officials to prepare for an emergency.
As the East and South received scattered rainfalls in this period, he said the department had received reports that flash flooding at Wang Bo Waterfall in Prachinburi’s Khao Yai National Park had killed one person.
He said four districts in Satun province (Manang, Muang, Kuan Don and La Ngu) also reported residents in 544 homes suffering from flash flood.