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Northeast dams running dry as rain remains scarce

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Northeast dams running dry as rain remains scarce

By Chularat Saengpassa
The Nation

 

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Chi river ,Khon Kaen

 

The Northeast is suffering from critical water shortage due to the lack of rain, despite it being the middle of the rainy season.

 

The Meteorological Department has also admitted that rainfall this year will be the lowest in a decade. 

 

“Some provinces in the Northeast, like Buri Ram and Surin, face the risk of taps running dry,” Samroeng Sangphuwong said this week in his capacity as deputy secretary-general at the Office of the National Water Resources.

 

According to him, the water level in seven large Northeast dams is below 30 per cent. These dams are Chulabhorn in Chaiyaphum (28 per cent), Lampao in Kalasin (27 per cent), Ubolrat in Khon Kaen (24 per cent), Lam Nang Rong in Buri Ram (23 per cent), Huai Luang in Udon Thani (23 per cent), Namphung in Sakon Nakhon (21 per cent), and Lam Phra Ploeng in Nakhon Ratchasima (15 per cent). In addition, water levels in as many as 97 medium reservoirs in the area are also below 30 per cent. 

 

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"Drought will likely hit 105 districts of 12 provinces in the Northeast namely Loei, Nong Bua Lamphu, Kalasin, Yasothon,

Chaiyaphum, Khon Kaen, Maha Sarakham, Roi Et, Buri Ram, Surin, Si Sa Ket and Nakhon Ratchasima,” Samroeng concluded.

 

People living in Khon Kaen’s Muang district are already lamenting that they have to purchase water for consumption at Bt40 to Bt50 per container. 

 

Drought has also ravaged thousands of paddy fields in Nakhon Ratchasima, with locals in Phimai district saying this is the worst drought in 50 years. 

 

Meanwhile, Kornravee Sitthichivapak, deputy director general of the Meteorological Department, admitted that even though the rainy season officially began on May 12, the rainfall is far below the average. 

 

“Overall the rainfall is the lowest in 10 years,” she said, adding that this might be because the low-pressure ridges were not powerful enough to induce rain. 

 

In a Facebook post, Plodprasop Suraswadi, a former natural resources and environment minister, advised the government to inform the public of the imminent drought, adding that he visited the Ubolrat Dam last weekend and believes the water-shortage problem will worsen. 

 

“I am certain that El Nino phenomenon will intensify this year. Temperatures will rise and rain will become scarcer,” he said.

 

He claimed that many academics were aware of these threats, but did not dare speak up due to concerns of possible consequences by the powers that be.

 

Source: https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30373092

 

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-- © Copyright The Nation Thailand 2019-07-17

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13 minutes ago, RPCVguy said:

While the south of Thailand is in latitudes that will get more rain annually, the north of Thailand is at latitudes that will bounce between floods and drought. This is at least better than the breadbasket region of China, which is expected to move towards more persistent droughts. El Nino and La Nina patterns of more or less water amplify the global hydrological and this year's WEAK El Nino is at the root of the drought for SE Asia this year.  See this video from NOAA

IF  we store the water in reservoirs as many say, and the years with high rainfall will over-run the storage capacity and require dumping water... flooding those downstream. It is a repeated problem globally - demonstrating the hubris and stubborn determination of societies.

THE MOST persistent way to lower the extreme swings of drought and flood is forests. BECAUSE much of SE Asia has removed so much of the former forest, that resiliency has been lost. It can be restored - but will take effort to sequentially restore pioneer trees, nitrogen fixing trees to kick-start the return to the subsoil fungal networks that are lost when clear-cutting of forest, particularly the older trees. Adding swale lines (water catchment ditches that follow the level contour line the land)  to hillsides made bare by attempting corn or other crops WILL facilitate the rehydration of hills. It is this hydration which established forests naturally facilitate by the sponge-like properties of leaf litter beneath the canopy. Holding water IN THE LAND is the way to dampen the swings now being experienced.
See this image - a cross cut of a swale line on a hillside.
swales_windbreak-1.jpg.37dcee82e32af1f49b01f27b5bb6a353.jpg

Like it or not, EXTREME WEATHER SWINGS will continue... globally.
Good graphics and summary of why the weather has become more extreme more frequently.

I agree with most of what you say. But reservoirs or no reservoirs in high rainfall periods flooding occurs anyway. Reservoirs shouldn't be confused with hydro dams which interrupt natural flow of rivers. The restoration of hillsides is an important factor but much of the drought problem is on flat plain areas of Thailand where the combination of many factors are not at all easy to overcome. Sadly Thailand has demonstrated erratic concern with any long term planning for domestic water supply seemingly on the presumption the rains will always suffice. Even now with empty or near empty reservoirs there is no evidence of any major  attempt to take advantage of that to increase capacity despite the advisory of longer term seasonal droughts .

It will be interesting to see what happens in this current year situation given it is approaching disaster for urban areas as much as for agriculture. 

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Perhaps it is the Government response to the pledge that there would be no flooding this year?

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Wow, we went past the Loei river today and I have never seen the water so low.  There's not going to be any water left soon if it doesn't start raining.  This June and July is nothing like June and July in 2018.  We been getting the occasional distant thunder and a sprinkle here and there but that's it.  

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17 minutes ago, MeePeeMai said:

Wow, we went past the Loei river today and I have never seen the water so low.  There's not going to be any water left soon if it doesn't start raining.  This June and July is nothing like June and July in 2018.  We been getting the occasional distant thunder and a sprinkle here and there but that's it.  

I have see it about 20 cm deep and maybe less than 5 meters wide in the off season.  Pics of Loei river near the main town in May and October 2017. In 1977 or 78, there was about a meter of water on the main street by the market (and in my MIL's house) for a day or so.  

 

May 2017  (Phu Bo Bit in background?)

image.jpeg.b0b9a46d09a8b82e262cd7e450242584.jpeg

 

Oct 2017

image.jpeg.d46da9aa1c84bd17cd7b65e50afc75cb.jpeg

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Every one seems to comment on the alleged  causes of lack of water.  Nobody mentions the millions and I mean millions of subsistence farmers who rely on the rice crop to survive.  They eat their rice and sell the surplus.  Guess what, in vast areas of Isaan there will be no rice this season .... Nothing.  Unless the government steps in,  and I'm sure they will in Thailand,  thousands will starve. 

Not sure what will happen in Myanmar which is suffering from lack of rain in the northern parts also. 

Pity the happy clapper global warming champions don't actually do something useful. 

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For the last 3 nights as I weary up the stairs to wilt its the hottest I have ever known it in 10 years and sure paint comes off at lower temps the cold water shower is to hot to shower need rain now or a general to tell us when we are going to get some 🤔

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