BANGKOK: Thailand, which is already in the grip of a severe drought, is expected to face its worst dry season in 40 years in 2020.
This year’s dry season has arrived earlier than normal, and is expected to last longer than in previous years, Bernama reported.
To complicate matters, last year’s drought exhausted the country’s water supply.
“Major reservoirs and dams are (already) holding less than 30 per cent of their total storage following an early dry season.
“The dry season… could last until May… We could face severe drought between February and April,” deputy secretary-general of the Office of National Water Resources, Samroeng Saengphuwong told Bernama.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s Meteorological Department has predicted that the first months of the rainy season – May and June – will see less rainfall compared to last year.
“This could reduce the water levels in rivers and dams,” Samroeng said.
At present, 18 provinces have been declared drought-affected zones and 54 provinces are “at risk” of lacking sufficient water supply.
Thailand’s Provincial Waterworks Authority (PWA) said the drought will affect 61 water production facilities in 31 provinces, and warned residents to brace for severe drought.
The worsening situation has compelled authorities to drill wells, extract ground water and build extra water storage facilities.
Last week, Cabinet approved 3 billion baht to implement various measures to tackle water shortages in the country.
Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan o-cha has urged the people to reduce water consumption, and the government has set up a water command centre to coordinate its response to tackle drought in the kingdom.