Faced with a severe drought as it enters its worst season, Thailand has begun groundwater extraction activities in its driest region to tap deep underground sources, as it looks at ways to strengthen future supplies.
The groundwater department has sent geologists and more than 80 teams to areas not served by irrigation networks and regions typically hit by shortages as dam water levels are depleted.
In northeast Yasothon province, solar-powered water pumps and tanks have been deployed in one of 25 groundwater stations, among some 937 underground wells in the region.
“The water source on the surface, when it dries up, the only source left is what is underneath us,” Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-Archa said during a visit.
“The amount of groundwater underneath Thailand has been tremendous,” he said, estimating 10% to 15% of Thailand’s more than 700 million litres (185 million gallons) of rainwater was beneath the ground.
Groundwater abstraction has been controversial in some countries, with concern about an over-reliance on underground sources instead of protecting and better managing water resources on the surface.
Some conservation groups say wildlife and flora are impacted by groundwater abstraction drying out lakes and wetlands while agriculture is consuming unsustainable amounts of water. Find more.