River residents warned of impending flooding

national October 10, 2017 01:00

By THE NATION

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Reservoirs at maximum capacity and discharge will hit low lying areas.



THE GOVERNMENT has warned people living along the Chao Phraya and Chi rivers of impending flooding, as 19 dams in their regions are already filled to more than 80-per-cent capacity and the Royal Irrigation Department (RID) will release more water to prepare for further rainfall.

As the Meteorological Department issued a weather warning about heavy rain in many parts of Thailand, especially in the North, Northeast and Central areas, which is expected to last from yesterday until tomorrow, Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister General Chatchai Sarikulya cautioned people in the Chao Phraya River and Chi River basins to brace for more floods.

A man yesterday tries to take his belongings to higher ground as floodwaters inundated many homes on the Chao Phraya River in Pathum Thani province.

However, RID director-general Somkiat Prajamwong said the situation was under control and not as bad as in 2011, as the department was trying to reduce the impact of flooding.

After a meeting of related agencies, Chatchai said many parts of the country would be affected by heavy rain as more water swelled reservoirs and rivers.

He ordered relevant agencies to mitigate the situation by stopping discharges from Bhumibol and Sirikit dams, working to drain water into the sea faster and storing water in flood-retention areas.

However, Somkiat said water levels at reservoirs such as Ubonrat Dam in the Chi River Basin had reached maximum capacity and the RID had to discharge water, which would affect many low-lying areas downstream.

According to the RID, 19 reservoirs across the country are at more than 80 per cent of capacity as of yesterday, including three of the four major dams in the Chao Phraya River Basin. The Khwae Noi Bamrungdan Dam was at 101 per cent of safe capacity, Pasak Jolasid at 90 per cent and Sirikit at 82 per cent.

Somkiat added that water levels in countrywide reservoirs were higher than last year, but people should not be too concerned as there was still room to store more water and the department would implement measures to mitigate flooding, especially in the Chao Phraya River Basin.

He said the RID had been diverting floodwater to storage areas on both sides of the Chao Phraya River at a rate of 440 cubic metres per second.

Water retention areas on the eastern bank have already received 365 million cubic metres of water, with a maximum capacity of 437 million, while water retention areas on the western bank had received 484 million cubic metres out of 1.077 billion.

Meanwhile, the RID reported that the current of the Chao Phraya River was already more than 2,000 cubic metres per second, which would intensify flooding in low-lying areas, especially in Ayutthaya’s Sena, Pakhai and Bang Ban districts, which had already been affected.

Many provinces including Ayutthaya, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Loei and Lampang yesterday reported flooding.

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