King Bhumibol, in his ceaseless efforts to improve
the living standards of the rural people, has developed
a new theory on land and water management. It is based
on the division of the agricultural land of each rural
household, which averages 10 to 15 rai (=1.6 ha to
2.4 ha), into four parts according to use in the proportion
of 30-30-30-10 as follows:
Part 1: 30 per cent of 10-rai piece
of land (about 3 rai or 0.48 ha) is used for a reservoir.
This should be dug to a depth of four metres for a
capacity of 19,000 cubic metres of water collected
from rainfall, which will be enough to irrigate the
crops throughout the year. On his many visits to his
people in the rural areas, the King has always stressed
the importance of water to agriculture, especially
to the rice crop which thrives on water. Since building
large reservoirs is becoming more and more difficult
due to the expanding population and the decrease in
the amount of land available. The King advocates the
building of household reservoirs. These, apart from
providing water for the crops, can also be used to
raise fish and aquatic plants, thus adding to the
Part 2: 30 per cent of the land (about
3 rai or 0.48 ha) is devoted to rice cultivation which
will produce enough rice for the household needs.
Part 3: Another 30 per cent of the
land ( 3 rai or 0.48 ha) may be used for growing more
rice or horticultural crops, depending on the local
conditions and the market demand.
Part 4: The remaining 10 per cent
of land (1 rai or 0.16 ha) is used for building a
house, paths and ditches and also for growing household
vegetables and raising livestock.
The implementation of the New Theory will help farmers
achieve self-sufficiency at a frugal level.
His Majesty has made further comments about water
supply. First, whereas the household reservoir has
a capacity of 19,000 cubic metres, a total water reserve
of 10,000 cubic metres is enough to follow the cropping
regime throughout the year. Second, the evaporation
of the water in the four-metre-deep reservoir is one
centimetre per day without rainfall. Thus, if there
is no rain for 300 days in a year, which is unlikely
in Thailand, there will still be one metre of water
left in the pond. Third, since there are numerous
large reservoirs distributed throughout the country,
they will serve as a back-up system for the small
reservoirs, enabling the New Theory to work effectively.
In order to prove the feasibility of his New Theory,
the King arranged to make a case-study at Wat Mongkhon
Chaipattana, Chaloem Phrakiat County, Saraburi Province.
The experiment proved highly successful and farmers
in various parts of the country have adopted the methods
and put them into practice.