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How does your garden grow?  By Eric Danell, Dokmai Garden


Drought alert!

AThis is an alert mainly aimed at expats with gardens in Chiang Mai, currently abroad during European/American summer vacation.

In contrast to last year’s heavy rain this rainy season is unusually dry. That will have no effect on the indigenous plants unless they are seedlings, but exotic garden plants and recently planted trees and saplings may succumb without generous watering. My wife spoke to her brother in Esan who reported that the rice is dying, which, if this goes on, may result in higher prices and inflation.

Last year when the heavy rains hit the north, the government had many weeks to take action to protect southern provinces, but they ignored the scientists.

This year the government wanted to show action by lowering the dams’ water reservoirs in advance, but it is not clever to assume that an unusually rainy year would repeat itself two years in a row, especially since the Thai weather is largely due to the El Nino/La Nina oscillations, which can be predicted fairly accurately based on sea water measurements. Last year was a La Nina and it did rain a lot. This year was believed to be neutral, but it is now shifting towards El Nino=dry in Southeast Asia while wet in South America.

The consequence of lowering the water levels of the dams prior to a drought might be electricity shortage, which must be battled with higher prices which will lead to inflation and even more expensive foods.

The argument for more dams due to an electricity shortage will strike against biodiversity and the livelihoods of poor fishermen and farmers along the rivers.

I hope none of this will come true and that a generous rain will last for two months non-stop. Water is life.

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Drought alert!