The Royal Rainmaking

Water scarcity is one of the most pressing issues facing our world today. The United

Nations estimates that more than 40 percent of the global population live in conditions

where there is shortage of water. In most of the agrarian countries where agriculture

represents a significant source of GDP, the need for water consumption in the sector has

inflated to more than 80 percent of the overall demand.

In Thailand, farming activities take up almost 70 percent of total land use. This requires a

high amount of water supply, mostly for the agro-industrial sector. The result is

a sporadic dry spell throughout the country. Coupled with high levels of deforestation

over decades, the lack of rainfall intensifies aridity, especially during the dry season.

Having shown interest in science and technology at a young age before enrolling in the

Faculty of Science at the University of Lausanne, His Majesty King

Bhumibol Adulyadej employed his knowledge based on his vision to improve the living

conditions of the people, especially for disadvantaged farmers who continue to suffer

from shortages of water. In 1955, during a visit to the most remote areas in Thailand's

northeastern provinces, His Majesty observed how weather conditions were

cloudy, yet not producing any precipitation. The incident marked the beginning of

artificial rain making, acknowledged by Thais as the 'Royal Rainmaking Project'. His

Majesty had realised the feasibility of this project after conducting a series of relevant

research on meteorology and weather modification.

The first experiment was conducted on 1 July 1969 under the supervision of His Majesty,

with Mom Rajawongse (M.R.) Debariddhi Devakula, an expert in agricultural

engineering, as an assistant. With the initial result being a success, in 2003 His Majesty

was granted a patent from the European Patent Office for weather modification through

the Royal Rainmaking technology.

Ever since the invention was introduced, it has gone through a series of transformations,

enabling transfers of technological expertise and attracting cooperation from different

actors with a common hope to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the artificial

rainmaking process. In doing so, the following steps are employed: 'agitating' to activate

cloud formation by using weather modification techniques; 'fattening' to activate the

accumulation of cloud droplets, and lastly 'attacking' to initiate rainfall from the cloud.

The project later evolved into the Bureau of Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation

under the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. The establishment manifests the

technology's success and practicality in alleviating the water resource management crisis

in Thailand. In addition to this, the project serves as a basis for providing technical

cooperation to countries with the same desire to combat droughts and improve water

management.

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The success of artificial rainmaking drew global attention and brought in requests for

knowledge sharing from several Asian countries. The calling has been pronounced as far

as the Middle East, where farmers suffer from arid climates and extremely long periods

of dry season. Jordan, experiencing a range of 20-200 millimetres of rain annually, has so

far been the only country eligible for the operation due to its uniquely disadvantaged

geography and climate conditions. The operation is expected to ease the side impact of

climate change suffered by the country, which causes a decrease in precipitation from 15

to 60 percent per year.

Since its birth in 1969, the Royal Rainmaking project continues to alleviate drought

problem in Thailand's rural area enabling farmers to harvest without disruption. The

Royal Rainmaking Project was made possible through His Majesty's persistent efforts,

talent, skill and most importantly, a sincere and genuine regard for his people and

country.

Source: Royal Thai Embassy, MYANMAR