MANY PARTS of the country are experiencing water shortages, as summer has officially begun, but authorities have said that there is adequate water supply for the current dry season.
The Meteorological Department announced recently that summer had begun on March 3.
Some areas of the country are facing a water shortage. Water levels at the Lam Takong Dam in Nakhon Ratchasima province were down to 24 per cent of total capacity. However, water experts ruled out the possibility of a severe drought this year, although they cautioned people to use water wisely.
Royon Jitdon, director of the Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute, assured that the water supply will be enough for this dry season and there are only some places that will face water scarcity.
“Right now, the areas most likely to face water shortage are in Nakhon Ratchasima and Chaiyaphum provinces because the water supply in these areas is low. The rest of the country will have enough water supply until the rainy season,” Royon said.
He explained that the precipitation pattern this year was normal and could be compared to 1999. However, he cautioned that as the country had experienced two continuous years of severe drought, there was no abundance in water stocks in reservoirs.
He also warned against increasing farming activities during the dry season, as that could cause a water shortage. He said because of the increase in water availability compared to the previous two years, many farmers were increasing their farming activities in the hope of making up for their losses in the drought years.
Provincial Waterworks Authority governor Seree Supratid also affirmed that the water supply for domestic consumption would be enough for the dry season
“This year, water shortage will not be as severe compared to the previous two years as we have more than 9 billion cubic metres of water reserves, while the big cities such as Chiang Mai, Phuket and Samui Island also have enough water supply for their areas,” Seree said.
“Although we have enough water for this dry season, I would like to ask people to use water wisely,” he added.
He stated that there were four areas on the water-shortage watch list – Ban Bueng district in Chon Buri province, Loeng Nok Tha district in Yasothon, Nang Rong district in Buri Ram, and Phan district in Chiang Rai. Meanwhile, Prachin Buri may experience salt-water contamination, which could disrupt the production of tap water.
It was reported that the water level in the Lam Takong Dam had fallen to such an extent that the old Mittraphab Road, which is normally submerged under the reservoir, is now completely exposed and even suitable for vehicular traffic.
Sutthiroj Kongkaew, Lam Takong Irrigation and Maintenance Project director, stated that the re-emergence of the old Mittraphab Road was a normal phenomenon when the water level in the reservoir is low. It was a sign that the dry season had begun, so people should plan their water use carefully.
“The dam has decreased water discharge to 432,000 cubic metres per day for domestic consumption and for preservation of the ecosystem. Farmers should avoid planting the dry-season rice crop, as no irrigation water would be available until the rainy season,” Sutthiroj said.