Drought in Thailand

A serious drought is starting to grip most parts of Thailand including Ubon Ratchathani. The rice growing season is still salvageable but a lot of rain needs to start falling and start falling now!

Here are a few snippets from some articles published in the last two days.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has expressed strong concern over the current drought crisis which has delayed the sowing of in-season rice.

– relief web

A drought in Southeast Asia is threatening rice production in Cambodia and Thailand, the world’s biggest rice exporter. The concern about production comes as rice prices have sunk to a two-year low, hurting farmers’ incomes.

– VOA news

Water levels at major dams in Thailand have declined sharply, especially in the northeastern region, due to an ongoing drought.


Farmers in villages across the Issan region are nervously watching the skies while at the same time looking at rivers and dams slowly drying up.

In September last year I blogged about the Huai Luang waterfall which is located inside the Phu Chong Na Yoi National Park which is in the Amphur of Na Cha Luai, right up against the Cambodian border, a 2 hour drive from Ubon Ratchatani but just a 30 minute drive from my village.

When my mate Clint and his family visited I took them there and they had a great time swimming in the falls. This is what it looked like then.

About three weeks ago my sister was visiting so I took her to view these majestic falls. I realised of course that the water flow would be a lot less due to the different time of season that we were visiting. I also remembered this photo that I took of a poster showing what it looks like month my month. January is the pic on the left and go month by month from there across to the right.

I must admit I was surprised when this is what we saw.

We spoke with one of the rangers there and he told us that in the 15 years that he has been working in Phu Chong Na Yoi National Park he had never ever seen the Huai Luang waterfall stop flowing.

7 responses to “Drought in Thailand

  1. Pingback: Thailand's best blog posts in June 2010 | Beyond The Mango Juice

  2. We thought the same thing here for a few mths. but the last couple of days the rainfalls have changed our minds , I think we are back to normal , at least in our neck of the woods , take care and hope you get some rain soon , and I know the little one are just waiting to take a run theu the mud puddles and cool off. take care Malcolm

  3. Ouch.

    Of all the times to take her!

    • Yeah pretty bad timing! They still enjoyed themselves though I think and the photos in the rangers office showing what it should be like are nice to look at!

  4. The drought is indeed very very serious. I have spent the last two days visiting my contract farmer families (850 on contract) in Roi-Et, Mukadahan, Amart and Ubon provinces. While my grass seed crops only need good top soil moisture to strike and start growing, paddy rice needs flooding and constant waterlogging.

    Everywhere I went, there were wilting fields of broadcast sown rice and wilting rice seedling nurseries. The water holding capacity of most northeast Thailand soils is very low, due to the 80-90% sand content. Hence, if it rains heavily for one day and then not again for 10 days, plants wilt and die.

    Farmers said to me that this year there has been only two seasons-one hot and one dry. No rainy season to speak of.

    Forget about the red vs yellow shirt problems. This drought has far more long reaching consequences.

    Today I saw pickups coming back from the provincial agricultural offices loaded up with cassava stems. This pathetic government is handing out for free cassava stems to plant instead of cash. Both ideas are wrong. I hate cassava-a soil deleting crop which leaves both the soil and farmer poorer in the long term.

    Rain every week or 10 days is not going to solve the drought. It needs to rain heavily every second day for at least 8 weeks to produce an average yielding rice crop this year. If it doesn’t, then northeast farmers and the Thailand economy will suffer.

    • Hi Michael,

      So it is not just Ubon then, seems like it is quite widespread (as the media reported). I agree about the rain needing to happen at least every 2 – 3 days. It has been 7 days since our last rain. All of that has since evaporated.

      Most of these fathers have no money or other work to fall back on. If no crop is the result this year what will happen? They can’t just pack up and head to Bangkok like their neighbours as there are not enough jobs for them.

  5. Pingback: Drought continues in Ubon Ratchathani « Life in rural Thailand

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