Egat warns farmers 'no third crop'

The Electricity Authority of Thailand (Egat) has warned farmers relying on irrigation water from two main dams to abandon plans for a third crop.

The irrigation water shortage will be serious in areas relying on supplies from two key dams - Bhumibol and Sirikit, Natthaphon Phumwiengsri, an Egat assistant governor, said on Thursday.

Bhumibol in Sam Ngao district, Tak, and Sirikit in Tha Pla district of Uttaradit have a combined water reserve of 4.417 billion cubic metres, or 27% of their capacity, he said. The two dams have to set aside 3.2 billion cubic metres for consumption and to combat the high tides flowing up the Chao Phraya River in the next two months, he added.

Water from the two dams also feeds the Chao Phraya basin in the central plain.

Other dams in the northeastern and central regions still have sufficient water to be released for farming, he added.

Farmers are expected to finish harvesting their second crop in March and then start planting a new crop.

Egat joined  the Royal Irrigation Department in campaigning for no third crop this harvest year because of water shortages in several provinces.

The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department has declared 15 provinces covering 2,667 villages as  emergency areas battling severe water shortages.

Local authorities are distributing water to villages by tanker trucks, department chief Chatchai Promlert said on Thursday.

The provinces hit by the shortage are Uttaradit, Sukhothai, Phrae, Tak, Buri Ram, Maha Sarakham, Khon Kaen, Si Sa Ket, Sing Buri, Saraburi, Chai Nat, Chachoengsao, Chanthaburi, Prachin Buri and Trang.

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