BANGKOK (dpa) – Thailand’s cabinet Wednesday approved a five-billion-baht (153-million-dollar) budget to combat the country’s drought problem.
“The budget will to alleviate drought and other water shortage problems in every province,” Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said Wednesday.
The Ministry of Interior said 15 provinces were already experiencing drought-like conditions before the traditional dry season begins in March.
“Drinking water is not a problem, however we must make efforts to combat shortages in irrigation water,” said Suthi Boonmak, deputy interior minister.
The areas expected to be hardest hit by drought are the north-eastern provinces, a chief agricultural region.
In 2014, more than 46 of the kingdom’s 77 provinces faced severe drought, according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.
Reservoir levels have decreased dramatically. They were at 64 per cent capacity in 2008 and steadily declined to 48 per cent of capacity last year.
The Meteorological Department predicted the trend would continue into 2015, and called for careful water management.