BANGKOK, 6 February 2014 The early-arriving drought has forced large dams to reduce their rate of water release and started to affect farmers in many areas of the country.
Watermelon growers in Kutchum of Yasothon are facing a shortage of water for their crop, which causes a large number of watermelon vines to dry up and die out. The farmers have to collect the melons before they are ripe and send them to market, otherwise the fruit would simply rot.
In Wang Sai Phun district of Phichit, farmers in the area have been told to brace for the early dry season, by ceasing the growing of off-season rice and switching to growing watermelons instead, as the fruit requires less water and could yield produce quickly. Around 5,000 rai of land in the district have recently been turned into watermelon plantations.
In the meantime, the water level in the reservoir at Sirikit Dam has dwindled to 55% of capacity.