Water Levels At Thai Dams Down 54%; Rice Yield Threatened
Thailand's water shortage is likely to worsen into 2024 as the dry El Niño weather phenomenon strengthens, according to government projections, as reported by Reuters, threatening to significantly reduce the country's rice output.
Thailand has four large dams—Bhumibol, Sirikit, Paasak Jolasid, and the Kwae Noi Bumrung Dan.
"There will be a consolidation of water management resources, innovations ... to increase yields as well as finding new markets for agricultural products," said Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin in his first policy statement before parliament last week.
Thailand is the world's second-largest rice producer.
"Extreme weather patterns brought on by the El Niño phenomenon are creating risks for farmers."
Rainfall this year has been 18% lower than normal, and key reservoirs are filled to only about 54% of total capacity, according to the Office of the National Water Resources (NWR).
Thailand has four large dams—Bhumibol, Sirikit, Paasak Jolasid, and the Kwae Noi Bumrung Dan. China's control of the water level of the Mekong River has exacerbated irrigation problems in Thailand.
Beijing has 30 dams that trap water flowing downstream of the river, which has its headwaters on Mt. Everest and nearby snow-capped mountain ranges.