The Problem of Drought in Thailand

In the recent past, Thailand has been facing drought. This way, water has become scarce causing water restrictions in order to ensure that people have adequate amounts of water for their daily consumption. The public is being urged to cut back on their water usage. Thailand is prepared to face one of the worst droughts. This situation has affected the famous festival, Songkran. During the festival, the public has been urged to conserve water and use very little amounts instead of wasting the precious commodity.

Weather Patterns in Thailand

According to Thai Meteorological Department, the rainfall fell 11% below the normal average across the nation in 2015. In 2010, Thailand recorded the second warmest year since 1945. According to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, 5.6% of the villages in Thailand had severe shortage of water. From a survey of the 16 reservoirs in the country, most of them, especially from the Northeastern Thailand, were operating at 70% capacity. During the beginning of this month, The Royal Irrigation Department promised the public that they would have enough water to enjoy the Songkran festival. The department asserted that there was enough water to sustain domestic and ecosystems needs until July.

Jason Nicholls, Senior Meteorologist at AccuWeather, posited that the drought was sparked by a strong El Nino in addition to cooler waters in eastern Indian Ocean. Combination of these two factors caused the air to sink, particularly in Southeastern Asia inclusive of Thailand. This way, development of rain and thunderstorms was not possible. Drought relief is expected to come after the onset of the monsoon.

The Tradition of Songkran Festival

Royal Irrigation Department’s spokesperson, Thongplaew Kongchan asked the populace to celebrate Songkran by splashing a little amount of water at each other. He also pleaded with them to reduce the days that they would splash water at each other. This way, people will be able to conserve water. According to the secretary general of the National Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Commission, Dr. Seri Suprathit, the water crisis experienced in Thailand was inevitable. If the drought persist, Thailand is going to lose rice worth THB12 billion from the four million acres of paddy fields. Immediate assistance is needed in 12 provinces. These provinces have 46 districts, which are the most affected by drought.

Authorities will need to inspect the areas that are near water sources such as fish farms and rice paddies, especially in regions around Ubonrat Dam in Khon Kaen. Authorities asserted that there would be the need to shut off water supply in order to have available water to be used during the critical period.