The month of April is traditionally the country’s warmest, so the country is now relying on groundwater for additional assistance. Geologists and more than eighty teams have been sent to previously inaccessible areas as water levels in national dams continue to decrease.
In northeast Yasothon province, solar-powered water pumps and tanks have been deployed in one of 25 groundwater stations, among 937 underground wells in the region. Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-Archa claims “When the source of water dries up, the only one left is what is underneath us. The amount of groundwater underneath Thailand has been tremendous,” he said, estimating 10% to 15% of Thailand’s more than 700 million litres (185 million gallons) of rainwater was beneath the ground.
Some countries remain concerned about an over-reliance on underground sources rather than protecting and better management of existing surface resources. Meanwhile, environmental groups take the perspective that local flora and fauna have been destroyed by groundwater abstraction, not to mention that agricultural needs have led to an excessive drain from lakes and wetlands.
Aquifers and water tables have fallen while land surrounding the capital Bangkok has reported sinkage. Varawut says “every precaution” has now been taken to prevent further damage and sinkholes. Despite efforts to convince farmers to grow less water-intensive crops, its demand continues to elevate. In order to ensure a steady supply, authorities are now exploring the option of implementing hundreds more groundwater facilities.
La Somabutr, an organic fruit farmer in the region, has expressed his delight at the game-changing move. “It is badly dry here. Now we have this groundwater. I feel like I am reborn.”
Source: Reuters Environment