According to local information, it has been revealed that the Royal Irrigation Department (RID) of Thailand has decided to stop water supplies to off-season rice crop in 22 provinces of the Chao Phraya Basin due to a likely prolonged drought conditions in the coming months. Local provincial officials have been sent notices to stop releasing water to off-season rice growing areas as they are likely to consume water in high volumes. Further in this regards, RID’s Deputy Director-General stated that all the provincial authorities to follow the irrigation department’s water management plan to help the country survive the predicted drought until the next rainy season, which normally begins in July every year.
Further, though Royal Irrigation Department has decided to shut all 365 sluice gates in order to maintain 4 billion cubic meters of water remaining in the four major dams in the basin. It will reportedly release 15.6 million cubic meters of water per day until July. Department also said that measure will ensure sufficient supplies for consumption and growing vegetables.
Further, in this context, RID official noted that Off-season rice currently covers about 1.28 million rai (around 204,800 hectares) in the Chao Phraya River Basin. While, some farmers planted off-season rice despite the government advise. He also said that the department will not bow to any further protests by rice farmers if they use up the remaining water in the canals. He said that the Thai paddy rice production to around 22.98 million tons in 2015-16, down about 30% from around 32.62 million tons last year. Output from off-season crop is expected to fall by 48% due to heavy water shortages.