Thailand to drill 4 300 wells as drought hits

2016-01-19 19:59


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Doha - Thai authorities are rushing to drill thousands of wells across the country to ensure enough water for drinking and washing, as farmers grapple with a drought and a months-long water shortage.

Authorities examined the water supply and demand nationwide and decided to drill 4,300 more wells, said Suphot Tovichakchaikul, secretary of the National Water Board, comprised of water officials and chaired by the prime minister.

"We are focusing first on water for consumption and daily use - for drinking, bathing and washing. We have asked farmers for their cooperation to not yet use water for irrigation," said Suphot, who is also chief of the Department of Water Resources.

"We estimate that the end of this year's dry season is May 30. The water we have now has to last for the next four months," he said on Tuesday.

The government will divert a $96m budget from the Department of Groundwater Resources - originally set aside to dig 6 000 wells at temples, schools and farms - for the urgent construction of the 4 300 wells.

The Thai government told farmers last year to limit their water use and grow alternative crops. The cabinet also approved a multi-million dollar budget in October to help farmers cope with the drought.

Long-term strategy

Since October, 1 250 wells have been drilled. They are usually dug to a depth of 80 to 100 metres but some wells in Isaan, the agricultural heartland in northeast Thailand, are dug about 300 metres deep.

Suphot said the government's long-term strategy includes filling the country's existing dams to capacity by tapping into rivers including the Yuam and Salween along its border with Myanmar.

"These are international rivers, so apart from an environmental impact assessment and feasibility studies, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will have to tend this issue with respect to relations with neighbouring countries," he said.

Worsening drought could prove another headache for Thailand's military government, which took power after a 2014 coup and is grappling with a lacklustre economy.

Read more on:    thailand  |  water

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.