The Royal Irrigation Department (RID) is taking proactive measures to safeguard Thailand’s water reserves as the country faces forecasts of an extended dry spell and reduced rainfall. The El Niño weather phenomenon further exacerbates the situation, posing significant challenges to water resources in the region.
RID Director-General, Praphit Chanma, unveiled a comprehensive plan in collaboration with the Office of National Water Resources (ONWR). The initiative includes a public awareness campaign to educate citizens about the crucial importance of conserving water resources.
Experts warn that this year’s El Niño could have a lasting impact on the region’s average rainfall, potentially leading to a severe drought well into 2025. The RID’s Smart Water Operation Centre (SWOC) report highlights a concerning trend, projecting that by November 1, the 35 major reservoirs in Thailand may contain only 62% of their total capacity, with approximately 44.166 billion cubic meters of water.
Currently, the four major reservoirs along the Chao Phraya River basin hold around 57% of their total capacity, approximately 14.194 billion cubic meters of water. In response to the anticipated scarcity, the RID urges improved water resource management across all sectors. Farmers are encouraged to utilize rainwater runoff to irrigate their fields during the dry and planting season.
The RID commits to supporting affected farmers, especially those cultivating perennial crops like durian and rubber, which may face higher maintenance costs and risks of crop failure due to the expected dry conditions.
Additionally, the RID plans to collaborate with local administrative offices and the Joint Management Committee (JMC) to transport water from major dams to areas severely affected by water shortages. The department also aims to expedite the construction of water management projects to enhance water distribution and availability throughout the country. With these proactive steps, Thailand seeks to ensure its water sustainability during challenging times.