WORD ON ENVIRONMENT THAILAND: The Royal Irrigation Department has warned that Thailand is facing the worst drought conditions in 20 years as the dry season bakes the earth.
According RID, the volume of water remaining in the country’s major reservoirs is now at its lowest in 15 years.
Eight provinces have already been declared drought zones, affecting about 2,000 farmers and villagers.
The eight provinces facing drought conditions are: Nakhon Ratchasima, Chaiyaphum, Lop Buri, Maha Sarakham, Nakhon Sawan, Sukhothai, Sakon Nakhon and Buri Ram.
More provinces are expected to be declared drought zones soon.
However, 1.4 billion baht has been allocated to develop water sources and lessen the impact of the drought and most agencies have expressed confidence that the ten major dams controlling water supply are being managed carefully to ensure enough water for all.
Also lessening the burden ion water levels is a scheme started last year by the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry to avoid off-season rice farming — a common practice among today’s farmers to double annual output — effectively halving the amount of land requiring water, from 12.16 million rai to 6.5 million rai.
The ministry is offering alternative work and sources of income for some 32,000 farmers co-operating with the off-season scheme.