Drought replaces floods

Falling river levels have forced many barge operators to stop by the river bank while others have hired tugboats to pull them. SUNTHORN PONGPAO

By Terry Fredrickson

Nature has not been kind to residents of the Central Plains. Within months, the flood crisis has turned into a drought crisis.

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Drought replaces floods

Nature has not been kind to residents of the Central Plains. Within months, the flood crisis has turned into a drought crisis.

In Ayutthaya, a sharp drop in water levels in the Pasak River has now paralysed boat transport and affected tap water. Many other areas have been similarly affected.

Water levels along the Pasak River, which late last year flooded some districts of the province, have fallen by up to 5m, leaving rocks and sand exposed near the Rama VI dam in Tha Rua district and between tambon Ban Ko in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya district and tambon Bo Phong in Nakhon Luang district, residents have said.

Goods barges using the river between the two tambons have been forced to stop as the water is too shallow.

Hundreds of them are sitting along the riverbank in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya district.

Boat captains said they had to wait for the higher tide in the nearby Chao Phraya River, hoping more water will flow into the Pasak where the two merge in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya district.

However, some decided to use more tugboats to pull their vessels, though they risked scraping the vessels' bottoms along the riverbed.

In Phachi district, water levels in Khlong Raphiphat, which receives water from the Rama VI dam on the Pasak River, were also decreasing as Pasak Jolasid dam was discharging less.

The dam, in Lop Buri province, is holding only 27% of its capacity.

A number of villagers in Pachi district are having to depend on tap water only. Those in Moo 5 of tambon Phachi cannot use their artesian wells because the water has turned salty.

"I want the government to heed changes on land and underground," said Thongchup Em-im, a former kamnan of tambon Pachi. "Is there sea water seeping into the underground water, making it salty?"

The dry spell is also causing water shortages elsewhere. Water levels are down in the Nan and Yom rivers that pass Phitsanulok and the province's nine districts have been declared disaster zones.

Adapted from a story in today’s Bangkok Post.

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    level – the amount of liquid that there is in a container, river, dam, etc., which can be seen by how high the liquid is ระดับ
    barge – a long flat boat used on rivers and barges เรือท้องแบน
    operator – a person or company that runs a business ผู้ดำเนินกิจการทางธุรกิจ, ผู้ประกอบธุรกิจ
    bank – a raised area of land along the side of a river  ริมฝั่งแม่น้ำ
    hire – to pay someone to work for you, especially for a short time จ้าง
    tugboat – a small powerful boat used for pulling larger boats, especially in ports  เรือโยง, เรือลาก
    drought – a long period of time when there is little or no rain ความแห้งแล้ง
    replace – to change from one thing to another แทน
    nature – the physical world including all living things as well as the land and the seas  ธรรมชาติ
    kind – caring about others; gentle, friendly and generous ใจดี, ใจบุญ
    residents – people who live in a particular area ประชาชนที่อาศัยในท้องที่
    plains – a large area of flat land ที่ราบ
    crisis – an urgent, difficult or dangerous situation  วิกฤตการณ์
    sharp – sudden and rapid, especially of a change in something ฉับพลัน, กะทันหัน
    paralyse – to cause to be unable to move or function ทำให้เป็นอัมพาต
    transport – to move people or things from one place to another  บรรทุก, ขนส่ง
    tap water – water that is sent through pipes into building น้ำประปา
    exposed – open, uncovered or unprotected ซึ่งเปิดออก
    goods – things that are produced to be sold; possessions that can be moved สินค้า, สิ่งของ
    shallow – not deep ตื้น
    tide – the regular rise and fall of the level of the sea (the tides) ปรากฏการณ์น้ำขึ้นน้ำลง, กระแสน้ำขึ้นน้ำลง
    flow – (of a liquid) to move continuously in one direction ไหล
    merge –to join together to become one การรวมกัน
    vessel – a boat or ship เรือ
    scrape – to rub something by accident so that it gets damaged or hurt  ขูด, ไถ, โกน, ถาก
    riverbed – the area of ground over which a river usually flows เส้นทางที่น้ำไหลผ่าน
    decrease – to become less ลดลง, น้อยลง
    discharge – to let a liquid flow out ปล่อยออก, ขับออก
    capacity – the total amount that can be contained ปริมาณสูงสุดที่จะรับได้
    depend on – to rely on พึ่งพา  
    artesian well – a hole made in the ground through which water rises to the surface by natural pressure  บ่อน้ำบาดาล
    heed – to pay careful attention to  เอาใจใส่, ระมัดระวัง
    seep – (of a liquid) to flow slowly and in small quantities through something รั่วซึม
    spell – a period of time when there is a particular type of weather ช่วงเวลาที่มีอากาศลักษณะใดลักษณะหนึ่่ง
    shortage – when there is not enough of something การขาดแคลน
    declare – to announce officially ประกาศ
    (natural) disaster –an unexpected natural event, such as a very bad storm or flood that kills a lot of people or causes a lot of damage ความหายนะธรรมชาติทาง, ภัยพิบัติธรรมชาติทาง
    zone – an area that has an important or typical feature; an area where a particular activity is allowed or not allowed พื้นที่, บริเวณ, เขต