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Drought and disease menace job prospects

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Drought and disease menace job prospects

Struggling farm sector can't be relied on to absorb workers, says NESDC

Thailand’s employment market is facing myriad risks this year, with widespread drought, poor exports, the delay of the 2020 fiscal budget and the highly contagious coronavirus outbreak weighing on jobs.

“Droughts will hurt employment in the agricultural sector and dampen farmers' incomes,” said Mr Thosaporn. “The Thai Meteorological Department stated the drought this year has been the worst in 60 years in terms of water supply from dams and reservoirs as of the end of January. The supply was 18.4 billion cubic metres, which accounted for 25.9% of total water storage capacity. This is the lowest level in four years.”

full article bangkokpost.com
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Drought disasters declared in 23 provinces  

Drought disasters have been declared in 23 provinces, legally obliging the government to provide assistance, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) reported today (March 10).

DDPM director-general Monton Sudprasert said the disaster areas are Chiang Rai, Phayao, Nan, Uttaradit, Sukhothai, Phetchabun, Nong Khai, Bueng Kan, Nakhon Phanom, Sakon Nakhon, Kalasin, Maha Sarakham, Nakhon Ratchasima, Buri Ram, Chaiyaphum, Si Sa Ket, Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani, Chai Nat, Kanchanaburi, Suphan Buri, Chachoengsao and Prachin Buri.

“The department has cooperated with the Army and related authorities to help drought victims by pumping water, digging wells, drilling and cleaning artesian wells, and organising water trucks to fill village central water tanks and water distribution points to make sure people have sufficient water during this drought season,” he said.

“Also, we have asked every sector to use water wisely and change the way of agriculture to suit the present situation,” he added.

nationthailand.com
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New study into use of huge aquifer in Isan  bangkokpost.com
A new study will explore ways of bringing up water from a huge underground aquifer for use in four northeastern provinces - Nakhon Ratchasima, Chaiyaphum, Buri Ram and Surin.

The artesian basin stores about 16,000 million cubic metres of groundwater and was found relatively recently, a Groundwater Resources Department official said on Wednesday.

The Nakhon Ratchasima-based Zone 5 Groundwater Resources Office is responsible for groundwater use in the four provinces.

Office director Surat Buaphan said that if the groundwater can be brought up it would be a boon for farmers in the Northeast who rely on rainfall during the wet season for agriculture. Their land lies unused during the dry season due to lack of water.

Of the four provinces under his office, Nakhon Ratchasima, Chaiyaphum and Buri Ram have already been declared drought-hit zones this year.

Surin is not included as it has a sufficient supply of surface water, thanks to rain brought by former tropical storm Podul.

In Nakhon Ratchasima, artesian wells have been sunk at all villages so it was quite certain there would be sufficient water for consumption this dry season, he said.

Groundwater from artesian wells at more than 400 schools is being processed for use as drinking water, and can also be used by people from nearby communities, he said.

Of the estimated 16,000 million cubic metres of water in the aquifer, only about 11% of it is being pumped for use. The department study will explore ways of making the most use of it.

Groundwater Resources Department officials inspect the drilling of an artesian well in Nakhon Ratchasima province. (Photo: Prasit Tangprasert)
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This may seem like a good idea, but the reality is that it will have long-term consequences. That groundwater is not replaced when it rains: it can take decades and potentially centuries to seep underground. They would be better doing some archeology and replicating how the area coped with low rainfall hundreds of years ago. They seemed to have it far better planned.


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Future reservoir eyed as water supply for EEC
A government subcommittee on “large and important projects” wants the Royal Irrigation Department to explore ways to increase the water supply for the burgeoning Eastern Economic Corridor.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, who chaired the panel’s meeting on Thursday (March 12), said Rayong, Chonburi and Chachoengsao were at risk of water shortages, especially for household consumption.

“We have to reserve water to meet demand that will increase due to the increase in population and various developments in industry, tourism and agriculture,” he said.

The committee will at its next meeting on March 20 focus on the Huai Khok Khian Reservoir, which is a part of the Khlong Rabom Reservoir project under development, Prawit said.

“This project for fiscal 2021-2023 involves the construction of an earthen dam at Ban Ang Toei in Chachoengsao’s Tha Takiap district and the water will irrigate 11,000 rai of farmland in the rainy season and 3,000 rai in the dry season.”

“Three million cubic metres of water a year from the reservoir could be diverted for public consumption, animal husbandry, freshwater fisheries, tourism and industry,” he said. “And 1.3 million cubic metres annually could be diverted to desalinate the Bang Pakong River.”

Water demand in Chachoengsao in 2017 was 1.46 billion cubic metres, Prawit said, a figure expected to rise to 1.64 billion by 2037 – a 12-per-cent increase. The province currently has 1.51 billion cubic metres available.

“We have asked the Royal Irrigation Department to propose using the Huai Khok Khian Reservoir to the Bang Pakong River Basin Committee and to consult the Water Resources Act.”

nationthailand.com
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