Reservoirs empty as drought ravages northeastern Thailand


Reservoirs were empty today as a severe drought continued to ravage northeastern Thailand.

Farmers say that a lack of rain has caused wells to dry up meaning they can no longer pump water underground for their rice crops across villages in Khon Kaen province.

Authorities are working on finding new water supply sources as the nearest reservoir in the critically-hit districts is located 1,500km and is also nearly dried up.

Nong No subdistrict village leader Anan Samorin said the current drought had been the worst in the last 10 years and villages are prone to its effects as they are located farther from irrigation systems.

He said: ‘Nong No subdistrict is located farther away from the irrigation system so we have to rely on natural water sources such as wells. However, these sources have already dried up.’

Mayor Surachai Busarakam reported that around 3,000 residents and three villages relied on the reservoir for daily use and now that there’s no supply, they could face a water crisis.

Surachai said: ‘The reservoir’s water level dropped so low that the stumps that used to submerge in the water are now clearly visible.

‘The district officials were forced to pump water from a reservoir located more than 1,500 kilometres away to feed the villagers.’

Kranuan district chief Tawit Pimpa had visited the area to inspect and promised to raise the budget to dig up swamps and reservoirs so more water can be stored.

However, villagers were still concerned. Local Jaras Kotseewong said: ‘The rice I planted in the paddy field is only waiting for its day to die. There may be no rice to harvest if the same problem continues.’

Other paddy fields are also facing the same problem, with all three villages having an area of more than 2.5 square miles which is now severely depleted of water.

Thailand faced severe drought in July and August due to unusually low rainfall. Water levels in four major dams – Bhumibol in Tak, Sirikit in Uttaradit, Kwae Noi Bumrung Dan in Phitsanulok and Pa Sak Jolasid in Lop Buri – have been low affecting supplies throughout the country.