Government focus on tap water rather than irrigation


BANGKOK, 16 July 2015 – Water discharge from the four major reservoirs feeding the Chao Phaya plains will be reduced beginning today, whereas no water will be provided to irrigation networks, in an effort to ensure that the supply for tap water lasts until the rainy season is in full swing.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Wednesday the government needed to give priority to supplying water for consumption, at the expense of water for irrigation. He said he sympathized with farmers who were facing water shortages and that the government was seeking ways to assist them.

Petipong Pungbun Na Ayudhya, the minister of agriculture and cooperatives, disclosed that water feed to the Chao Phraya plains from the four major dams will be reduced by 2 million cubic meters per day beginning today (July 16). The daily discharge will be scaled back from 28 million cubic meters per day, until it reaches 18 million cubic meters a day.

Water pumping stations are now banned from diverting water into the irrigation network. However, permission may be sought to channel water into the irrigation network for purposes of feeding tap water production or other purposes save for agriculture.

Tak provincial governor Somchai Hatthayatanti also revealed on Wednesday there was only 143 million cubic meters of water available for discharge from Bhumibol Dam, one of the four major dams feeding the country’s central plains.