THE ROYAL Irrigation Department (RID) has decided to use Ubolrat Dam’s “dead storage”, or water that can only be pumped out, to help people in Khon Kaen and nearby provinces cope with the drought crisis.
The dam only has 32 million cubic metres of drainable water left, which accounts for just 1 per cent of its actual capacity.
“Hence, it is necessary to use about 200 million cubic metres of the dam’s dead storage to ensure that local people have enough water for consumption until July,” Agriculture Minister General Chatchai Sarikulya said yesterday.
After some of the dam’s dead storage is used, it will still have some 400 million cubic metres left for maintenance.
Relevant authorities are now doing their best to minimise the effect of drought on people, especially when it comes to water for consumption.
RID’s director general Suthep Noipairoj said the Ubolrat Dam now has to release 500,000 cubic metres of water daily for local consumption and for maintaining the ecological balance.
“We have already stopped allocating water from the dam for farming purposes,” he said, as he urged people to save as much water as possible.
“We will have to touch the dead storage soon, which should remind us that we need to save water to ensure we have enough available until July,” he said.
Though the rainy season usually begins in May, some experts have already warned that the rains may come late this year.
According to Suthep, the four major dams in the Chao Phraya River basin namely Bhumibol, Sirikit, Kwai Noi and Pasak Jolasid will also be able to provide water for consumption.
In addition to limited water sources, several coastal provinces are now having problems with the intrusion of seawater. A key tap-water station in Pathum Thani province has found that the salinity of raw water in the Chao Phraya River in its area has already risen beyond normal standard four times this month.
If this station is not able to get an adequate supply of raw water, many people in Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan and the eastern part of Bangkok will have problems accessing tap water.
Pathum Thani irrigation chief Chuchart Supawattanangkoon said yesterday that relevant officials had already tried to tackle this threat.
“Now, we consider using water in the Bang Luang Chiang Rak canal as an alternative source of raw water,” he said.
In Nakhon Ratchasima province, a waterworks authority has also |been busy preparing alternative water sources for their tap-water services.
In the face of serious water shortage, Thailand will this year scale down the use of water during its famous Songkran Festival.
For instance, Khon Kaen authorities have already decided to prepare fewer water-filling spots for Songkran revellers. Usually, celebrants have fun drenching each other during the festival, which runs in the middle of the hot month of April.
(Source – http://www.blackseagrain.net/novosti/drought-hits-hard-in-thailand-storage-water-to-be-pumped-out)