Thailand

Office of National Water Resources follows up drought fighting projects

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BANGKOK(NNT) - The Office of National Water Resources (ONWR) has reported the success of saltwater intrusion mitigation using water from the eastern region. The office is following up the progress of drought prevention projects and village water sources development which help increase water reserves by 134 million cubic meters.

The ONWR Secretary General Somkiat Prajamwong has revealed the attempt to solve saltwater intrusion, by allocating freshwater from Mae Khlong River to help desalinate the lower Chao Phraya River section, is showing positive results, with saline level in the area returning to more normal levels. This effort does not affect water availability for tap water production and farming.

Following this positive result, the ONWR is considering allocation of freshwater from the western region to prevent possible effects on the Mae Khlong River, before reducing water discharge from Bhumibol and Sirikit dams, which are currently discharging at about 16 million cubic meters collectively. This will help preserve water availability in reservoirs at these dams until the end of dry season.

The ONWR has recently ordered water allocation from several sources to ensure availability of water for consumption until 30 June. It predicts no precipitation in Thailand in coming days, except for the southern region.

To support some 2,944 square kilometers of off-season rice crops, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives plans to allocate more water from nearby sources, instead of the 4 main reservoirs in the Chao Phraya River Basin which no longer have sufficient capacity, and urge farmers to stop farming off season.

The ONWR has met with related agencies to ensure the preparedness of water projects in 2020 and 2021 fiscal years. Some of these projects can be activated immediately in 57 provinces at risk of water shortages. These projects include the development of small to mid-size water sources, and the installation of water gates.

Some 70,000 households will benefit from the 134 million cubic meters more of water reserves, thanks to these projects, as well as additional projects for villagers and sub-districts lacking water storage and availability. The ONWR has set June this tear as the deadline for these projects to complete to help store rainwater during the rainy season, expected to start in July.

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Reporter : Tanakorn Sangiam
Rewriter : Hugh Brammar
National News Bureau & Public Relations : http://thainews.prd.go.th