The Historic Thai-American Road Emerges Due to Drought

The historical Thai-American road beneath the Lam Takhong Dam has emerged during the dry spell.

El Niño is expected to cause severe drought in Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Such consequences are already being witnessed in several drought situations throughout Thailand, including Nakhon Ratchasima in the northeast.

The water situation at the Lam Takhong Dam in Nakhon Ratchasima, or Korat, has reached a critical point due to the prolonged dry spell, with water levels dropping to only 44 percent of the dam’s capacity as of August 20, 2023.

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The water levels have dropped to only 44 percent of the Lam Takhong Dam’s capacity.

This dry period has resulted in the appearance of the historic Thai-American road, which was built during the Vietnam War and utilised by the US Air Force as a route to its base in Udon Thani Province. The road was abandoned when the dam construction was completed in 1972. The road can now be seen emerging from beneath the water, revealing a submerged historical landmark.

The emerged road has turned into a vast area for animal grazing due to the extended drought conditions, spanning over 7 kilometers. The Lam Takhong Dam’s water source originates from the Khao Yai National Park in Nakhon Ratchasima Province, where limited rainfall has resulted in no water flowing into the dam, causing all the branches and canals to dry up across all 12 sub-districts.


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The historical Thai-American road beneath the Lam Takhong Dam has emerged during the dry spell.

Although there’s some natural spring water in the area of Ban Tha Chang Nuea that flows into the dam, it’s not sufficient to meet the demand for water supply, consumption, and agriculture.

Amnart Wannamaso, the head of the Department of Water Management and Irrigation, mentioned that the amount of water in the dam is extremely low this year. This situation could have a negative impact on the aquatic life living in the dam. The impact on the ecosystem will be seen after observing the amount of rainfall until October.

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After the water level dropped until it was dry, villagers brought livestock to raise in the area around the dam.

Chaiya Huayhongthong, the head of Khao Yai National Park, expressed concern about the low rainfall. If there is no rain during the dry season to replenish the rainwater reservoirs intended for wildlife, these reservoirs will dry up quickly. Water from the Saisorn reservoir for drinking and other purposes, also intended for wildlife, is also beginning to dry up daily and is approaching critical levels.

A new update from the WMO has declared the onset of El Niño, the first declaration of this kind in seven years. There is a 90 per cent probability of a transition from ENSO-neutral to El Niño during the second half of 2023.

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El Niño is expected to cause severe drought in Thailand.

El Niño is a natural weather phenomenon that results in more intense natural hazards in parts of the world. It will likely have strong economic repercussions and threatens to slow the global economy by as much as US $3 trillion.


According to the Global Climate Risk Index 2021, Thailand was already ranked as the ninth most affected country among 180 countries in terms of human impacts and direct economic losses from weather-related loss events during the period 2000–2019.


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