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Doomsday Alert: Thailand Staring Down the Barrel of an Unprecedented Water Crisis! Are We Preparing for a Dry Apocalypse?

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The National Water Resources office attributes the looming water shortage in Thailand to rapidly growing population numbers, the expansive development of industry, a booming tourism industry, plus widespread agricultural use. Covering provinces like Rayong, Chonburi and Chachoengsao, EEC (Eastern Economic Corridor) is anticipated to be among the regions most affected.

In the year 2022, the overall quantity of water in demand stood at an estimated 657.73 million cubic meters. From this, household use accounted for 216.83 million cubic meters, industrial processes consumed approximately 308.98 million, and agriculture took up about 131.92 million.

From perspectives of the agency, by the time we reach the year 2027, the rate of water demand will witness a significant increase of 19.39% from 2017, accelerating to a hefty 2.89 billion cubic meters. Agriculture, followed by industry and household consumption, is projected to be the largest consumer of water.

Further projections show a potential rise in demand to 1.58 billion cubic meters in Chachoengsao, coupled with a surge of 682 million in Rayong and 623 million in Chonburi. As 2037 approaches, the estimated total water demand is likely to increase even further, hitting a high of 3.09 billion cubic meters. These forecasts are founded on the expected population increment to 6 million, driven primarily by burgeoning investments and infrastructure enhancements.

The agency warns that unless the current water sources, providing about 2.54 billion cubic meters, are robustly expanded, a severe water shortage could befall the region by 2037. Moreover, their analysis indicates that present water resource development strategies have not taken into consideration the significant impact of climate change on rainfall amounts.

Therefore, the agency emphasizes the critical need to reevaluate some areas, specifically:

  • Fast-tracking initiatives such as the Bang Pakong River Basin Development Project within Chanthaburi.
  • Increasing the production of fresh water from seawater. This could especially be done in Map Ta Phut and Pattaya, where demand for water in industrial operations is rising.
  • Implementing an effective water management framework. This system, which would monitor levels of water consumption, reserves and readiness of supply, could help inform the industrial sector and facilitate decisions on appropriate pricing structures.

Indeed, the severity of the impending water shortage in Thailand cannot be underestimated. Swift, practical steps need to be taken to mitigate the issue and ensure a secure, resilient water future for all.

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