Tags / drought
Many regions of Thailand are struggling with what some have called the worst drought in decades with nearly 30 of Thailand’s 77 provinces declared drought affected according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM). Climate experts have pointed to an El Niño weather pattern along with the effects of climate change as the cause for drier and hotter than usual weather across much of the country leading to canals, reservoirs and dams to reach record lows levels. For the nation’s farmers meanwhile, these higher than normal temperatures combined with last year’s short-lived wet season have forced some to plant more drought-resistant crops, and in some places these too are failing. With the wet season set to begin many affected communities are hoping that significant rainfall will help to ease the situation, however there remains a collective anxiety that a short-lived wet season this year will not provide adequate rainfall to bring relief to farmers and communities most affected.
Jinda, a farmer in Suphanburi province surveys a field he used to grow beans where rice would usually be planted. Severe drought conditions and limited water flowing through nearby irrigated canals have forced many farmers to be selective and grow more drought resistant crops.
A farmer inspects his struggling rice crop in central Thailand. Severe drought conditions and limited water flowing through nearby irrigated canals have forced many farmers to grow selectively in order to ration the water they have access to.
A farmer near Uthong in Suphanburi province watches over a controlled burn in one of her fields. Government officials have condemned this practice citing concerns for air quality made worse by the lack of rain however burning fields after harvest is often practiced by farmers in order to quickly make way for future crops.
A farmer shows some of his failed bean crop near Uthong in Suphanburi province. Dry conditions in Thailand are forcing farmers to plant more drought resistant crops such as beans instead of rice. For many areas however, even substituted crops are failing due to the severe drought.
A line of water markers lead down to the water's edge at the Mae Kuang dam in Thailand's Chiang Mai province. The distant tree line provides an indication of past dam levels while significant rainfall is believed to be still months away.
The view down river from the gates of the Mae Kuang dam in Chiang Mai province. The current water levels at the dam sit below the gates meaning water release is not possible.
In the city of Chiang Mai, there were little signs of drought. In the lead up last month's popular Songkran (a popular holiday marking the Thai new year by throwing water) some local nightclubs threw 'pre-Songkran' festivities in order to promote the upcoming water festival and attract patrons.
Water guns, balloons and hoses were all used to soak club-goers while farmers and villagers outside the city were being told to ration their water due to extremely low levels in the surrounding dams.
A farmer feeds his water buffalo near a small waterhole in the Ping River near Chom Thong, Thailand. The river is dry in some places as the region struggles through a serious drought. Many districts in the Chiang Mai region have been declared drought-affected and significant rainfall is not expected for months.
A young fisherman tries his luck in some of the small waterholes remaining in the Ping River near Chong Thom, Thailand. The river is dry in some places as the region struggles through a serious drought. Many districts in the Chiang Mai region have been declared drought-affected and significant rainfall is not expected for months.
Ngam, a fisherman, lands his boat with his catch for the day after passing through choked waterways in Ping River near Chom Thong, in Chiang Mai province. Low water levels mean that many of the larger bodies of water are often difficult to navigate through due to crowding from vegetation. Open areas like this one are becoming more sparse as the dry season continues and the temperature rises.
Hidden Waters tells the story of water in Fez, Morocco, the cultural practices surrounding it, and those who aim to save it for future generations. In the medieval medina of Fez, water was once the motor of medieval commerce and industry as well as a source of well-being and luxury for its peoples. Today, as the old hydraulic system falls into disrepair and the river running through Fez is threatened by pollution; inhabitants of the medina depend on modern water sources that become more expensive as each well dries up and each old water channel breaks down. Can Fez’s famous waters be saved?
The Bedouins living in The West Bank are living hard and simple lives. It is a daily struggle to make ends meet. Living in tent camps and small desert towns, they try to create a life for their families.
In the desert outside Bethlehem, lies a little Bedouin village called Rashayida. Circa 250
Bedouin families from the same clan inhabit the village. If you go past the village and stay on the road it turns into nothing but a small path. That is where you meet the Bedouins that still inhabit the desert.
In the area around Rashayida, the Bedouins live a quiet, simple and hard life. It is a society that does not fit in anywhere else. Here life is centered around one thing: Survival.
The lack of water is one of the great challenges in the desert. They face serious issues like Climate change, the lack of infrastructure and the always-present conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
Even though a Bedouin does not need a lot of water to survive, the issue is not just about
clean drinking water. They need water for their livestock, personal hygiene and cooking.
Just as it is important to have water for the few crops they grow.
The Bedouins are dependent on clean water, which they can get in the nearby village
and transport into the desert. A tank of water contains three cubic metres of water that
is 3000 litres. A Palestinian family on average spends 8 percent of its monthly expenses on buying water. A worldwide comparison shows an average of 3,5 percent. This number jumps upwards of 50 percent for those Palestinian families relying on tankered water like the Bedouins.
The Bedouins are some of the poorest people in the West Bank. Their primitive lifestyle means that they pay a lot of money for water. Still the quality they get is very poor, because the water in the tanks is stagnant.
Rainwater cisterns, that collect water, are scattered throughout the area. The Romans built them in ancient times, and when fixed they can be used for watering the animals. However, this option is not enough though, due to the lack of rain.
According to WHO, every human being should have access to around 100 liters of water daily. The average on The West Bank is 70 litres.
Israelis, Israeli settlers and Palestinians get mainly their water from two places: The Jordan River and the mountain aquifer that runs under Palestinian and Israeli land. Israel also gets water from the Sea of Galilee, which is the mouth of the Jordan River. Water has been rerouted away from the Jordan River since the sixties with devastating effect. An effort to change this has begun in 2013 even though some critics deem it not nearly enough to restore the levels of the river.
The Jordan River is off limits to Palestinians, because the Israeli military has deemed it military grounds. Jordan, Lebanon, Syria also taps water from the river. This massive use
has left the river all but dry. The Dead Sea has divided into two lakes, because of the low flow.
In the Oslo accords there is a section on water, which states that the water they share shall be further resolved when the Oslo accords are resumed. This has yet to happen.
Photos by Andreas Bro
Text by Andreas Bro
Animal footprints across the dry rivers of sodium cyanide, formed by mine tailings of the Hutti gold mine.
Portrait of a village