The Department of Royal Rain-making and Agricultural Aviation has step up rain-making operations to increase water stored at the country’s four major dams to ensure sufficient water supply to meet demands during the upcoming dry season.
Mr Surasee Kittimonthon, deputy director-general of the department, said that the weather conditions now until October 20 are suitable for rainmaking and the department hopes to add an addition of 800 million cubic metres of rain water into the four dams, including about half of them in Bhumibol dam, during the period.
In the worst case scenario of the lowest level of water in the Bhumibol dam, he estimated that the dam can still hold about 5,000 million cubic metres of water which may have effects on farming areas in Tak, Kamphaeng Phet, Sukhothai and Nakhon Sawan provinces.
In order to step up rain-making efforts, two more rain-making centres were set up in Phitsanuloke and Buri Ram in addition to the five existing ones in Chiang Mai, Nakhon Sawan, Khon Kaen, Rayong and Surat Thani.
Mr Surasee said the department had worked out a plan to increase its personnel, including pilots and scientists, who are in shortage, in cooperation with universities.
On top of that, the department has recently signed an agreement of cooperation with the Science and Technology Research Institute to develop locally-produced chemicals for use in rain-making instead of relying on imports.
The department is now experiencing shortage of pilots, mechanics and scientists. It now has 57 pilots and 34 aircrafts. But five men are needed for two planes, hence forcing most pilots to work seven days a week.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)