Who cares about the drought, Songkran was great fun.

THAILAND’s traditional new year celebration, the Songkran festival, which takes place mid-April each year, was once again a huge success with big profits landing in the Kingdom for those connected to the tourist industry and providing a big boost for the government coffers.

The Songkran water festival is famous across the world as one of the Asia’s wildest celebrations, and features on the bucket list of many a traveler.

On average half a million foreign tourists from Europe, North America and Asia join the Songkran festivities every year. Most are fortunate to experience the beauty of this event, making friends and taking part in good-natured water fights, according to TAT.

And because it is a great tourism draw, the event provides a major boost to Thailand’s tourism economy. According to figures released this week, this year’s festivities saw spending increase by 14 percent to reach BHT45.428 billion (US$1.3 billion).

All for the ‘must have’ experience of throwing ice-cold water into the faces of somebody else, all day and all night, for over a week. Billions and billions of gallons of water. But that’s ok because it brings great revenue into Thailand.

Meanwhile, Preecha Phanwa, chief of the Ang Thong irrigation office, is warning rural farmers to think twice before planting a second rice crop, because they risk losing it all.

A farmer in Pathum Thani with his parched, cracked rice field. (Photo by Pongpat Wongyala)

The water level across farmlands is now dangerously low and sand dunes have emerged over a large areas of the country. Farmers have been advised to wait until late May before planting again.

The rainy season will hopefully begin around the middle of May, ‘depending on when an expected low pressure forms in the Bay of Bengal,’ according to Pramote Onnom, director of the meteorological station in Chai Nat province.

The forecast comes as farmers in many provinces of the Central Region are suffering from a lack of water and face heavy losses as thousands of rai of crops are drying and dying, according to local media.

In Pathum Thani the water in many canals is now particularly low, especially in Khlong Rahaeng Tai in tambon Na Mai of Lat Lum Kaew district.

The large number of farms relying on this water supply for their crops are now facing ruin.

But, look on the bright side. See how well Songkran did this year.

-Albert Jack

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