BANGKOK, 4 February 2014 The Royal Irrigation Department (RID) has reported that the water levels in major dams are on a sharp decline stemming from severe drought while farmers are urged to slow down their cultivation of off-season crops to conserve water.
According to the RID’s Water Watch and Monitoring System for Warning Center, as of January 31, the combined amount of water stored at all major dams within the Chao Phraya River Basin stood at 13.11 billion cubic meters, approximately 53% of the total capacity, while the usable portion was at 6.41 billion cubic meters. These dams consist of the Bhumibol Dam in Tak province, Sirikit Dam in Uttaradit, Khwae Noi Bamrung Daen Dam in Phitsanulok and Pa Sak Jolasid Dam in Lop Buri.
Based on the RID’s plan, 5.26 billion cubic meters of the reserved water is to be discharged to the residents of the Central Plains for the current drought season, which runs from November 2013 to April 2014. However, over 3.26 billion cubic meters or 62% has already been used thus far.
With only 2 billion cubic meters of water remaining to be distributed, the RID is concerned whether the amount will suffice the demand during this drought season, which is expected to last for three more months. The department, therefore, pleaded with agriculturists to refrain from planting more off-season crops and to use water as sparingly and efficiently as possible.