Put down the water guns: Songkran celebrants urged to cut water usage to stave off water crisis

Thai authorities are urging the public to cut back on water usage, including during the water fight-heavy Songkran festival, as the country prepares to face the worst drought in 20 years.

Sensible spoilsport Thongplaew Kongchan, spokesman for the Royal Irrigation Department, said people celebrating Songkran should tone down their watery activities and just “splash water at each other slightly,” Thai PBS reported.

He also suggested reducing the number of days during which water fights are held, and cutting the volumes of water used.

Dr Seri Suprathit, National Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Commission secretary-general, said Thailand was facing the worst drought in 20 years and that a water crisis was “inevitable.”

If there is no rain during the critical 120-day period between March and June, about THB12 billion worth of rice grown in about four million rai of paddy fields could be damaged.

Water in the irrigation system will only last until August if rain does not fall, Thongplaew added.

A total of 12 provinces covering 46 districts have been declared drought-sticken areas where immediate assistance is needed.

Authorities will inspect water sources and pay special attention to areas like the region near the Ubonrat Dam in Khon Kaen, near rice paddies and fish farms.

Water supply for household consumption may have to be shut off periodically to ensure it lasts throughout the critical period, authorities said.

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