Prayuth worried about drought

Military chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha said he was worried about possible drought this year, but still had hope the monsoon season will replenish evaporating supplies of usable water.

In a meeting Tuesday with members of the National Council for Peace and Order, Gen Prayuth said it was expected that the level of rainfall this year would be lower than normal.

He said overall water levels in dams nationwide sit around 30% of capacity but the supplies of usable water in major dams such as Bhumibhol and Sirikit were quite low at only 4%. Therefore, he said, there might be problems for rice cultivation and power generation, leaving Thailand in a drought situation.

According to Thaiwater.net, the water in Bhumibhol dam in Tak province on Tuesday was at 4.01bn cu metres, or 30% of capacity. But usable water totalled only 247m cu metres, or only 2%. Sirikit dam in Uttaradit province had 3.25bn cu metres of water, or 34% of capacity, but its usable water totalled only 404m cu meters, or 4%.

Gen Prayuth said monsoon rains were predicted to enter Thailand between August and October, which would help replenish dams. But, in the meantime, he has instructed the Thai Meteorological Department to consider making artificial rain.

Gen Prayuth also asked related government agencies, particularly the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, to prepare for the incoming storms and monitor water levels in dams across the country.

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