Agriculture Minister Chatchai Sarakalya said Friday that the dredging of the irrigation canal to drain excess water out of Nakhon Si Thammarat and the planned construction of the seven water catchment ponds to store excess water were long-term project in line with the initiative of the late King Bhumibol to tackle repeated flooding in the province and to store excess water for use in dry season.
However, the minister noted that the water catchment ponds project could not get off the ground because of the land problem with private owners who are reluctant to cede the land. He pleaded for cooperation from the land-owners to sacrifice parts of their land for the common benefit of the people of the province.
Minister Chatchai said the existing canal has a capacity to drain just 258 cubic metres of water per second which is not enough to cope with the amount of flood water, hence resulting to flooding in the province.
Although floodwater level remains stable, low-lying areas in several districts of the province, including Tha Sala, Thung Song, Pak Phanang, Cha-uad, Hua Sai and Chian Mai are still under water on Friday.
The minister has instructed the Royal Irrigation Department to speed up draining water out of some 2,200 rai of Taptim Sayam pomelo orchards which are under threat from flooding.
Nakhon Si Thammarat is the only province in the country which is home to the premium-grade pomelo.