“ Songkran Festival” has been defined as the Thai New Year which is celebrated from April 13 to April 15. These times falls in the hottest time of the year in Thailand, at the end of the dry season. In traditional Thai culture of Songkran , the water was used to relieve the hot weather during the dry season. In addition, Songkran was traditionally also a time to visit and pay respects to elders. Besides the throwing of water, people celebrating Songkran may also go to a wat to pray and give food to monks. They may also cleanse Buddha images . It is believed that doing this will bring good luck and prosperity for the New Year.
Currently, Songkran tradition has been changed the way of throwing water from households and wats to the streets and roads. People roam to the streets and roads with a new technique by using containers of water or water guns, or post themselves at the side of roads with a garden hose and drench each other and passersby. This, however, was not always the main activity of this festival. Nowadays, the emphasis is on fun and water-throwing rather than on the festival's spiritual and religious aspects. As a result, the problems in cases of accidents , arguments , and water shortage in some regions occurs from the unconcern that revellers are always using water for fun.
Chiang Mai city is located in the north of Thailand, among some of the highest mountains in the country. From the beginning , the city was planed to be an agriculture area zone that mostly relies on the major water source of Mae Kuang river .Especially in the Doi Saket area which the water for feeding paddy farm came from Mae Kuang Udomthara Dam. The shortage of the water in the dam happens since the rising of the rice price that encourage farmers to plant more rice and cultivate in the second crop since early of each years.
Other impacts are from the economic growth of industry, and the growth of communities in urban of Chiang Mai makes the use of the land in project’s area of Mae Kuang become a higher need of water demand. Furthermore, Thai culture of throwing water during Songkran festival by revellers consume water over the demand motivate the water shortage more than the past . All of these reasons use water that more than a volume of water in the reservoir dam. The effects of water needs made the conflicts between villages about their benefits of selling rice in Doi Saket through water authority of the dam. And the authority can not find the best way to solve the problems.
The future plan from water shortage problem of Mae Kuang Dam, there are plans to build a pipeline from Mae Tang Dam to send water to Mae Ngat Dam. Then the water tunnel from the Mae Ngat Dam will link water to help, and fill the Mae Kuang Dam.
Mae Ngat Dam Mae Kuang Dam Connected by underground pipe
The current policy is asking people to play water gently with no arguments on the streets and roads, no drinking alcohol that can cause the accident on the road, asking people to not waste water too much in order to provide enough water for tourists to throw around of this Songkran. And they plan to pump more water from the Ping river to make tap water. .
The method of dealing water problem in Chiang Mai is not focus on the real problem of overuse the water during Songkran festival , but supporting international business travel to increase the economy of the province. The water shortage is still occurring if not have the strong policy on the revellers to throw water with sufficiently in a proper zone that will not affect on the others such as farmers in Doi will reflect the nice culture of thai culture, and also have water conservation to the province and the country.
The organizations such as United Nations General Assembly, UNESCO. ESCAP are the main agencies responsible for overseeing water directly . The new information informs that fresh water now is existing in the world only 0.25 percent of the water source around the world which never feed the world population of approximately 6 billion people.
From policy statements of the Songkran tourist season of every local areas impacts on water use throughout the region. Especially in Chiang Mai which is a popular city tourists from both Thai and foreign tourists. In the meantime, the province is still experiencing drought and flooding in the north. However, policy and local government has promoted tourism season playing in the water festival statements with no plans of using water properly to revelers. This causes water shortages for farmers who need water for cultivation. The government must shift to the water festival of the city people which need to focus on results of economy, but. does not consider the farmers as they could.
The sustainable solution of the government should encourage people to play water with economically and sufficiently during Songkran festival continually. Implantation of conserving water to every public organizations and people by using all media types, campaign. Not just a campaign during Songkran festival which can not be self-conscious. Troubleshooting the Operating System of the diversion of water from one region to another by managing water diversion system, and do not let water spread out by no directions that causes the problem of flooding in the same areas again and again. Providing areas to play water properly in order to reduce accidents and to control water playing to be more orderly which will be easy corporating of each local areas.
Promoting the Thai tradition of Songkran festival by gradually adjust to change each areas to play water with Thai culture , no violence , no alcohol ,and no water wastage. The government have to provide funding and support to these pilot areas. In conclusion, there are many ways to solve the problems in each areas. The solution will not be possible if all the government agencies and people are not sincere in solving problems. Although Songkran festival will make enjoyment and create revenue for the country very much, playing water too much make the problems to the farmers that could not harvest the crop as expected. The solution has to start from ourselves in the use of saving water in every day life. Sufficient of playing water in in Songkran festival , and the public authorities have to encourage and promoting the right way to play water with economically. Including the consciousness to people and every local areas have to get involve for using water considerably and systematically for conserving water shortage , and flooding.