Drought On The Way Followed By Flooding

Bhumibol Dam
Bhumibol Dam

A drought is on the way in July and August due to unusually low rainfall, a climate expert warned on Wednesday.

Water levels in four major dams – Bhumibol in Tak, Sirikit in Uttaradit, Kwae Noi Bumrung Dan in Phitsanulok and Pa Sak Jolasid in Lop Buri – are expected to be especially low, said Witsanu Attavanich, associate professor at Faculty of Economics, Kasetsart University.

Mr Attavanich said rainfall would be lower than normal in the upper part of the country over the next two months.

Thereafter, however, it was expected to increase during September and October, possibly causing flooding in the central region.

As less rainwater is expected to flow into the major reservoirs until at least September, most of the country must plan its water management carefully, he said.

Additionally, the International Research Institute (IRI) forecast last Thursday that climatic conditions could be more volatile from September to November.

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“We must follow up the weather forecast closely and better to prepare to manage the incoming flood and drought issues.”

Meanwhile, the Royal Irrigation Department says water volumes in all big and small dams across the country stand at 34.7 billion cubic metres (µg/m³) or 46% of their overall capacity.

In the four major dams alone, the water levels stand at 7.9 billion µg/m³ or 32% of overall capacity, the department said.

The Meteorological Department has forecast a chance of rain from this Sunday until next month and this might result in each dam insufficiently discharging water to agricultural areas in the Chao Phraya River basin.

The department has therefore asked farmers to postpone their plans if possible until the dams are back to adequate levels.

According to the National Water Command Centre, the southwest monsoon lying across the Andaman Sea and Gulf of Thailand has been weakened, resulting in thunderstorms in some northern areas.

The Sirikit dam can store more than 277 million µg/m³ of water until Sunday, thus alleviating the water shortage, said the centre.

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