Nakhon Ratchasima tackles water scarcity amid El NiñoLegacy

The province of Nakhon Ratchasima is facing a water management challenge due to the impact of the El Niño phenomenon, which has led to a critical decrease in water levels across 27 reservoirs. These water sources now contain less than half of their capacity, prompting local authorities to adopt stringent water management strategies. In contrast, the Huai Chorakhe reservoir, almost full, brings relief to the local community as they navigate through the dry season.

In the heart of Nakhon Ratchasima, Kritikul Saepaseeraphorn, director of the local irrigation project, has reported severe drought conditions exacerbated by the El Niño effect and low atmospheric pressure over upper Thailand. The scorching weather, particularly during midday, has persisted for several days, causing a rapid decline in water levels in the province’s 27 reservoirs, reported KhaoSod.

The four major reservoirs, namely Lam Takhong, Lamphra Phloeng, Mun Bon, and Lam Chae, have an average remaining water volume of 446.09 million cubic meters, or 50.38%. Out of this, 408.65 million cubic meters, or 48.19%, is deemed usable.

The Lam Takhong reservoir, which supplies five districts with water for domestic use, is of particular concern with only 124.76 million cubic meters, or 42.76% of its capacity, remaining. The situation is slightly better for the 23 medium-sized reservoirs, which have an average water volume of 162.73 million cubic meters, or 49.13%, and 148.31 million cubic meters, or 48.44%, usable.

Nakhon Ratchasima tackles water scarcity amid El Niño | News by Thaiger
Photo courtesy of KhaoSod

Three medium-sized reservoirs have less than 30% of their capacity remaining: Huai Prasat Yai in Dan Khun Thot, Nong Kok in Phra Thong Kham, and Bueng Krathorn in Prathai.

Meanwhile, five others have between 80% and 100% of their capacity, such as Lam Chiang Sa and Ban San Kamphaeng in Wang Nam Khiao, Huai Yang Phalai in Kaeng Sanam Nang, Huai Phliak in Khon Buri, and Huai Chorakhe in Khong.

Nakhon Ratchasima tackles water scarcity amid El Niño | News by Thaiger
Photo courtesy of KhaoSod

Huai Chorakhe reservoir in Nong Manao, Khong District, stands out with 8.36 million cubic meters, or 88.06% of its total capacity of 9.50 million cubic meters, and 7.73 million cubic meters, or 87.22%, usable.

This is a stark contrast to February 2019, when the reservoir was practically empty, leaving 3,500 acres of land parched and less than 1% of water available, which hindered water supply for domestic use and led to a prolonged drought. This year, however, the near-full reservoir has brought joy to the locals, sparing them from the drought crisis.

Nakhon Ratchasima tackles water scarcity amid El Niño | News by Thaiger
Photo courtesy of KhaoSod
Nakhon Ratchasima tackles water scarcity amid El Niño | News by Thaiger
Photo courtesy of KhaoSod

Community relief

Tipakorn Boonrat, a 47 year old resident of Khong District, shared the relief of the community following the filling of the reservoir to capacity due to heavy rains and storms during the last rainy season. This ensured enough water for consumption and agricultural activities without the stress of previous water shortages.

The irrigation project in Nakhon Ratchasima, under the management of the Eighth Royal Irrigation Office, has strategically managed water resources by storing rainwater for the dry season, ensuring sufficient water supply for locals to confidently face the drought.

Nakhon Ratchasima tackles water scarcity amid El Niño | News by Thaiger
Photo courtesy of KhaoSod

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Author: Nattapong Westwood