With an ongoing drought affecting many provinces in Thailand and water levels in major dams running low, authorities in the country are taking measures to save water. According to the Department of Water Resources, more than half of the kingdom is suffering from drought with 43 provinces directly affected. The military government is asking farmers to co-operate by not irrigating crops as they usually would and adverts are being run on national television encouraging households to preserve water. Thai authorities are also asking people to think of others during the Songkran Thai New Year Water Festival in April.
Thailand’s water authorities have announced water mains pressure will be reduced at all popular tourist spots for Songkran to help conserve water supplies. One of the most famous Songkran locations in Thailand for tourists is Khao San Road in Bangkok. The party usually starts there on April 12, but this year festivities aren’t scheduled to kick-off until the official start of the Songkran holiday on April 13. There are also plans to cut back on the number of water refilling outlets on Khao San Road and the 80-metre water tunnel which has been popular in previous years will not be there for Songkran 2016. Signs in Thai and English will ask Songkran party-goers to enjoy the festival but use less water and be mindful of others in Thailand experiencing water shortages.
Away from Bangkok, organisers at other major Songkran venues in Thailand are also being asked to set an example by asking revellers to return to the traditional way of celebrating Songkran. This involves gently pouring water instead of engaging in day-long water fights. It’s a noble idea in theory although in reality it may prove to be no more than a symbolic gesture when Songkran gets under way and the water-throwing parties commence.