Farmers told to suspend second-crop cultivation due to water shortage

Rice farmers were told not to plant another crop of the second rice crop because there will not be enough water to feed their farmland.

The warning was issued by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) after the water levels in the two main dams, Bhumibol and Sirikit, have steadily dropped without replenishment from rains.

EGAT deputy governor Natjaphon Phumiwiangsri said that EGAT had already discharged 3,000 million cubic metre from the two dams for dry-season cultivation and the combined volumn of water at the two dams now stood at 4,417 million cm or 27 percent of the working capacities of the dams.

Moreover, he explained that EGAT had to reserve another 1,250 million cm of water to be used during the two-month period of dry season to push back the invasion of salty sea water.  Hence, there remains only 3,200 million cm of water for the months of May and June for consumption and for pushing back sea water, he said.

Mr Natjaphon pointed out that invasion of sea water into the Chao Phraya river too place much earlier this year and has already affected the water used to produce tap water by the Metropolitan Waterworks Authority.

To solve this salty water problem, the Irrigation Department has occassionaly released water from Bhumibol and Sirikit dams to push back the sea water.