Agriculture Min prepares for upcoming drought season
BANGKOK, 2 April 2018 (NNT) - Thailand's Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives is preparing the country's water reserves for the upcoming dry season and will closely monitor drought-prone areas in 23 provinces.
Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister, Grisada Boonrach, said the country is better equipped to face the dry season than it had been in previous year. However, the ministry has identified and will closely monitor areas that are at risk of drought.
As of April 1st, the country's reservoirs were at 67 percent capacity, with a combined 50.9 billion cubic meters of water, or seven billion cubic meters more than the same period last year. The country's four main dams in the Chao Phraya River Basin are at 61 percent of their combined capacity.
The country's water management plan from November 1st, 2017 to April 30th, 2018 has used 82 percent of its resource allotment or 20.68 billion cubic meters. During the same period, the Chao Phraya River Basin alone used up over seven billion cubic meters or 93 percent of the region's allotment.
Currently over 2 million hectares of farmland is conducting off-season rice planting. The total area is 7 percent over the ministry's target, but is considered manageable and is expected to produce around eight million metric tons of rice.
Meanwhile, the Royal Irrigation Department (RID) has identified 74 districts across 23 provinces that are prone to the effects of drought, as they are beyond the department's irrigation zones. However, the RID said these areas are not currently at risk in terms of household consumption. The provinces are to encourage local farmers to plant water-saving crops and to monitor any effects of drought closely.
According to Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives, Minster Dr. Wiwat Salyakamthorn, the Chao Phraya River Basin water management policy calls for an expedited crop-planting schedule, so that harvesting can be completed before the rainy season to prevent crop damage. Faster harvesting would also allow the fields to be temporarily appropriated for flood management.
Dr. Wiwat singled out local agriculturalists in Bang Rakam District of Phitsanulok Province, who reverted to fishing during the rainy season, as an example of successful cooperation in water management.
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