Interior Min urges public not to panic over drought situation

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BANGKOK, 24 June 2015 – The Minister of Interior has told the public not to worry on the expected severe drought situation, as authorities are gearing up the drilling of groundwater wells to alleviate farmers’ water demands.

The Minister of Interior Gen Anupong Paojinda has revealed the outcome of the Economic Committee meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, to help farmers affected by the drought situation.

Currently, precipitation in July is expected to fall below the average level by 18 percent, but this figure will recover to normality by August.

He has said that this year’s drought condition is more severe than previous years. Therefore, the public are urged to use water conservatively and should not panic. Related agencies have also been ordered to communicate with the public in their areas, to prevent them from competing for water.

On this matter, the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Gen Dapong Ratanasuwan has said that the Department of Groundwater Resources will provide services in drilling groundwater wells to 22 drought-hit provinces to alleviate farmers’ water demands.

The campaign will include the drilling of 500 wells, and the purchasing of 84 water pumps with a budget of 84 billion baht. It is expected that this campaign will help supply 200,000 cubic meters of water for the cultivation of approximately 100,000 to 130,000 rais of farmland.

The Royal Irrigation Department’s Director-General Lertviroj Kowattana has mentioned that the volume of water remaining in the four main dams is currently at 1.067 billion cubic meters. The department has reduced the water releasing rate to 28 million cubic meters per day from the previous rate of 33 million, to ensure the availability of water supply for consumption and environmental conservation until 10 August 2015.

According to the Geo Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency’s Executive Director Anond Snidvongs na Ayudhaya, the low precipitation is caused by the intense El Nino phenomenon, causing this year’s drought the most severe since 1997. The El Nino has also affected other countries in the region such as China and Taiwan.