Government agencies and utilities are diverting water and rerouting pipes to bring enough water to the Pattaya area that should prevent previously anticipated water shortages this summer.
Alongkorn Ponlaboot, advisor to the Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, and Taveesak Thanadechopol, deputy director-general of the Irrigation Department, met with farmers and industry leaders at Irrigation Office 9 in Sriracha Jan. 17 to discuss the impending drought and efforts to minimize its effect.
Taveesak outlined the current crisis in the East, saying seven reservoirs that normally feed water to Pattaya, Chonburi and Rayong are at just 42 percent of their 671-million-cubic-meter capacity. The 55 Central reservoirs are at 57 percent capacity while rivers are running at 30-50 percent water levels.
Still, water levels are not uniform and some areas have more water in lakes than others. Thus the Irrigation Department, the Provincial Waterworks Authority and private companies like East Water Co. have taken steps to divert water from low- to high-demand regions.
East Water has turned on connections from the Prasae and Klong Yai reservoirs to the Nong Plalai Reservoir. The utility told farmers that the diversion would not impact them as there is plenty of water to last until rainy season.
The PWA, meanwhile, has begun to divert water from the Klong Luang Reservoir, bringing Chonburi 10 million cu. meters more water. Additionally the PWA has purchased water from private landowners to add 20 million cu. meters.
The Irrigation Department has tapped reserves in Chanthaburi to bring water from Klong Wang Tanod to the Prasae Reservoir and installed nine pumps to keep it flowing the 45-kilometer distance. It’s expected by the end of rainy season, Prasae will get an additional 70 million cu. meters of water.
All the extra water likely means there will be no water shortages in Pattaya, where the PWA had begun cutting flow rates and warning people of the worst shortages since 2015.
Nonetheless, government agencies are urging people to conserve and have won agreements from Rayong and Chonburi’s large industrial estates to cut water usage by 10 percent.