Is the drought over?
My experiences with water shortages in Thailand
Since arriving in Thailand in May my family has had to learn to live with the significant drought that Thailand is going through, and in Nong Bua Daeng, Chaiyaphum it has been particularly tough.
In late May I was appointed as a teacher at Nong Bua Daeng Wittaya, which is about 70 kilometres north of Chaiyaphum city.
Accommodation was difficult to get in the first few days and I had to reside for a few nights in a pretty basic hotel, which had no water for the first two days, apart from half a bin full, which I used sparingly.
I had to take a ‘shower' using purchased bottled water, with limited success. My wife and son stayed at my wife's mother's place in Chatturat at this time.
Thankfully one of the teachers at school was able to offer a place for rent in town. My first question was ‘Is there water?', ‘Yes, all the time,' came the reply. I accepted the offer, leaving the hotel I had already paid for in advance a couple of days earlier.
Unfortunately the access to water was cut significantly within a matter of days of my family moving in to our accommodation.
Water was restricted at first between 6am and 7.30am int the morning and 5pm to 7.30pm in the evening, with the hours being slowly squeezed, to about one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening.
We have had to base our lives around being home around the times mentioned above, waiting for the water main to tick over signifying the arrival of water.
At the time it arrives its rush, rush, rush to fill bins, buckets, water cooler tanks and any other sort of container to hold water, as well as having a quick shower.
I have lived with drought restrictions in Australia, but nothing like this. The dam at the back of the town has been bone dry, with any rain simply falling down the cracks.
Thankfully there was a significant amount of rain over the last couple of weeks, and the water restrictions have been lifted as of two days ago. Having access to water on demand again has changed our lives considerably. The uncertainty of having access to water over the past three months has been considerably stressful.
I was becoming obsessed with weather, praying for rain, hoping it would arrive, often we were teased with the build up of clouds, but hopefully the rain is here to stay. However I am not optimistic that this drought is over, from what I have read, there will be a significant reduction in average rain fall this wet season.
I have written about the drought and other everyday life in Nong Bua Daeng on my website.
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Hi Nathan was good to read your blog. Are you still in Nong Bua Daeng? I have family there but I am currently working in Ho Chi Minh City and I would like to be closer to my family. I cannot contact the school through their website as I can't read Thai. I would appreciate a little help.
By Stephen Burton, Vietnam (13th December 2015)