Ngam, a fisherman, docks his boat with his catch for the day after passing through choked waterways in Ping River near Chom Thong, in Chiang Mai province.
Cory Wright

Thailand is struggling with a historic drought that has affected nearly 30 of Thailand’s 77 provinces. Climate experts have blamed El Niño as well as climate change for the lack of rainfall, which has left the country’s canals, reservoirs, and dams with record-low water levels.

A line of water markers lead down to the water’s edge at the Mae Kuang dam in Thailand’s Chiang Mai province. The distant tree line provides an indication of past dam levels.
Cory Wright

For some of the nation's farmers, the arid climate, coupled with last year’s short-lived monsoon season, has forced them to switch from water-intensive rice crops to more drought-resistant ones, such as beans. But these too are failing. Meanwhile, for the country’s urbanites, little has changed. In the large, northern city of Chiang Mai, for instance, there were no signs of drought as people celebrated Songkran, a popular holiday marking the Thai new year in April, by pouring water on Buddha statues and over each others’ hands to symbolize the washing away of sins. In fact, in the lead up to the holiday, Chiang Mai’s nightclubs threw pre-Songkran events for Thai youths, such as water gun and water balloon fights, even as the country’s farmers and rural villagers were being told to ration their water.

The view down river from the gates of the Mae Kuang dam in Chiang Mai province.
Cory Wright

A farmer feeds his water buffalo near a small waterhole where the Ping River usually runs near Chom Thong, in Chiang Mai province.
Cory Wright

A young fisherman tries his luck in some of the small waterholes remaining in the Ping River near Chom Thong, near Chiang Mai.
Cory Wright

Those living in the city of Chiang Mai have not had to ration their water like in the countryside. In fact, many celebrated Songkran (a popular holiday marking the Thai new year by throwing water) by drenching each other using water guns, balloons, and hoses.
Cory Wright

Jinda, a farmer in Suphanburi province surveys a field he uses to grow beans instead of rice, which is a very water-intensive crop.
Cory Wright

A farmer inspects his struggling rice crop in central Thailand.
Cory Wright

A farmer near Uthong in Suphanburi province clears one of her fields by burning it.
Cory Wright

A farmer shows some of his failed bean crop near Uthong in Suphanburi province.
Cory Wright

CORY WRIGHT is a photographer based in Australia.

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