Bangkok slaps curfew on world's biggest water fight amid drought

BANGKOK (Reuters) - The Thai capital will impose a curfew during Thailand’s annual water festival next month to show solidarity with farmers hit by drought, city officials said on Tuesday.

File photo of revelers using water guns as they participate in a water fight during Songkran Festival celebrations at Silom road in Bangkok April 13, 2015. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

Thailand is facing its worst water shortage in two decades, with 14 out of 76 provinces hit and large swathes of agricultural land at risk.

Thailand has entered its annual dry season, which typically runs from March to May, meaning the drought is likely to get worse.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s solution? Be a wet blanket by cutting festival days down from four to three and imposing a curfew.

“This is partly symbolic, but we hope to save water too because our lakes have become deserts,” said deputy Bangkok governor Amorn Kijchawengjul.

“We don’t want city folk splashing water around carelessly while farmers struggle.”

The Songkran festival, which marks Thai New Year, is often referred to as the world’s biggest water fight - a time when revelers splashing water on each other and everyone, young and old, is fair game.

A major tourist attraction, Bangkok’s water parties typically run late into the night.

But this year all splashing will have to stop at 9 p.m. sharp.

“We’ll just shut down the party,” said Amorn.

Reporting by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Nick Macfie