CityNews – On 8 May, Januwut Lertsilpcharoen, director of the Chiang Mai Office of Irrigation, was interviewed by Chiang Mai News Online, regarding an image of the Ping River appearing to be completely dry.
The image that sparked worry among officials and citizens was taken by an aerial photographer from the irrigation office, in order to fully evaluate the status of the river.
According to Januwat, the part of the river photographed was located just after a river dam that had been closed while dams downstream were open. This caused a deficit of water in that area, but he assures people that this is normal during river management in times of drought.
The damns downstream were opened to provide water to Chom Thong to help alleviate drought issues and to re-supply Lamphun with water after the recent rainfall.
Januwat also added that there is currently around 2 million cubic metres of water passing through the area of ‘dry’ river, and in reality, most of this water is flowing through the sand and silt on the riverbed.
The water being released is believed to reach all the way to Hot district. Dams will be re-opened periodically to help refill the river at a time that is appropriate.
However, netizens and officials alike have noted that even if there is still enough water flowing downstream, our reservoirs are still critically low, and water usage must be regulated. Many people also added that after the fire that burnt down much of Doi Suthep on Sunday, people should not burn during the drought as the ground is dryer than normal, wildfires can spread, and fire crews only have a limited amount of water to use in emergencies.