Kingdom in grip of drought

national March 12, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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Official figures show that drought is now well entrenched in many provinces across the country. As of last Friday, they reveal water shortages have struck 20 provinces in the North, the Northeast, the East and the South.

In the Northeast province of Kalasin, more than 2,000 paddy fields are parched and crops appear on the verge of withering.

Piyapanya Phukwanmuang, director of the Kalasin-based Lampao irrigation project, said while the irrigated areas there should have enough water for consumption and farming, land plots beyond irrigation zones could face serious water shortages.

In Ubon Ratchathani, the water level in the Chi River is getting so low that a local irrigation chief predicts severe drought this year.

“In fact, the lower portion of the Chi River has already run dry,” Wongpat Nuraj said in his capacity as chief of the That Noi Dyke irrigation project.

In the South, a royal-initiated experimental farm project also faces a drought threat. “Since January, we haven’t seen any rain,” the project’s assistant manager Runchuan said from Yala’s Raman district.

She said if no rain arrives, water supply would be gone in the next 20 days.

In the North, longan farmers lamented that drought had hit the country earlier than expected this year.

“The water level in the Ping River is low,” Northern Longan Farmers Network’s Prathuang Kongrord said.

In Uttaradit, Rung Nuankhiao said she had dug a pond to ensure water supply during the drought. “But this year, the problem is so bad my pond won’t have enough water,” he said.


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