Government reiterates five measures against drought

17-Aug-2019 Intellasia | ReliefWeb | 6:02 AM Print This Post

While the prime minister and Defense minister, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, is scheduled to inspect the drought situation in Surin and Buri Ram provinces next Monday (August 19), the deputy prime, Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan, has pressed relevant agencies at a meeting on drought remedies to enact five measures prescribed by the government, and assist those affected.

Gen. Prawit chaired the meeting of the Water Resources Management Committee and its 2020 Budget Review body, which focused on addressing the ongoing drought. The gathering agreed to adjust the management plans of four major dams on the Chao Phraya River, which currently hold only 4.7 billion cubic meters of water combined, despite the minimum target being five billion cubic meters.

Gen. Prawit asserted that five measures prescribed by the government should be strictly adhered to so as to ensure sufficient supplies for public use and agriculture. The five include artificial rainmaking operations, which already took place between March 1 and August 11 and comprised 4,214 flights across 58 provinces; surveys of areas with water shortages and the provision of equipment, adjustment to the management plans for the Chao Phraya River’s four main dams; the digging of ground water wells and close monitoring of areas with less than 60 millimeters of rain a month.

Rainfall between May 1 and August 11 was measured at below average across all regions, except southern Thailand, where readings were between one and three percent above average.

Rainfall is expected to normalise over the next three months except in the central and eastern regions, before dropping by as much as 10 percent below average from October.

Requests for the 2020 water management budget have been increased to a total of 180 billion baht to carry out rehabilitation of drought-hit areas. The Office of the National Water Resources (ONWR) is to review the proposal and forward it to the Bureau of the Budget and Natural Resources Commission.

The government Spokeswoman, Prof Narumon Pinyosinwat, explained today that the prime minister has ordered cabinet members to monitor, analyse and seek solutions to the drought issue and report back on local situations so that short, mid and long term solutions can be implemented.

Next Monday, the prime minister is scheduled to visit the northeastern provinces of Surin and Buri Ram to follow up on efforts to improve the water situation. He said relevant agencies will quickly address remaining obstacles, provide urgent assistance to the affected residents and develop a water management plan for the next phase.


Category: Thailand

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