The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology has reiterated its call for all relevant ministries, institutions and especially citizens, to collaborate in conserving and judiciously using water.

The initiative comes as this year’s dry season experiences a more pronounced rise in temperatures compared to last year.

Water resources ministry spokesman Chan Yutha stated on November 19 that the ministry had previously issued a notice urging people to join efforts in conserving water, particularly in remote areas distant from sources. The notice indicated the 2023 El Nino had extended its global impact from September, resulting in an average temperature rise of one degree Celsius.

“In general, El Nino [is in full force]. We have observed heatwaves affecting Australia and Indonesia, but our region has yet to witness this phenomenon. However, during the upcoming dry season, temperatures will continue to rise, especially in March and April, with weather conditions becoming more extreme compared to last year,” he explained.

“That’s why we have advised relevant ministries and institutions to prepare water storage for daily use and manage it efficiently to avoid excessive pumping for irrigation. Hence, we have outlined these priority tasks,” he added.

Yang Saing Koma, secretary of state at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, shared techniques for growing rice that reduce water consumption and mitigate the effects of global warming.

“I have been advocating for the adoption of Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) principles and techniques since 2000. AWD is one of the primary principles of sustainable intensive farming systems,” he said on November 19.

He noted that the practices offer benefits such as improved soil oxygenation, healthier rice roots, reduced risk of disease and damage, lower water usage, decreased pumping costs and reduced methane emissions.

“We aim to establish model farms where these key principles and techniques can be implemented in various locations. This marks the beginning of our nationwide efforts, particularly during the dry season and in areas with irrigation systems,” he added.

The National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) issued a call on November 17 to citizens and all relevant stakeholders to adhere to the advisory notice. The committee urged them to assess the potential of existing water sources and plan their usage, focusing on daily needs and single-crop cultivation of dry season rice, as well as maintaining reserves in reservoirs and natural areas.

Soth Kim Kolmony, spokesperson for the NCDM, reiterated the appeal from the committee, emphasising the importance of water conservation. 

“We renewed our plea to conserve water through the [water resources ministry] and urged residents in remote areas with limited access to water sources to be mindful of their usage,” he stated.

Forecasts indicate that the 2023 El Nino will globally intensify through December 2023, with the Kingdom expected to bear approximately 30 per cent of the phenomenon’s impact, as per the ministry.