Officials in Petchaburi install pumps to drain water from the reservoir of the Kraeng Krachan Dam amid concerns that disaster was looming.
Officials in Petchaburi install pumps to drain water from the reservoir of the Kraeng Krachan Dam amid concerns that disaster was looming.

Brimming dams pose severe threat

national August 06, 2018 01:00

By PRATCH RUJIVANAROM
THE NATION

14,854 Viewed

People in western provinces urged to move to higher ground as more water to be released from reservoirs.



MANY dams in the western region are rapidly filling up due to heavy downpours, with the situation at Kaeng Krachan Dam being of the greatest concern.

The reservoir was expected to reach maximum capacity last night.

The provinces of Phetchaburi, Kanchanaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan are bracing for floods, as the Royal Irrigation Department (RID) issued a warning yesterday that many of the large dams in the area were nearly full from continuous rains.

More water will have to be released from the dams to keep the levels stable, but it could cause floods in the downstream areas, the RID said.

The RID’s Smart Water Operation Centre reported that the water level in the Kaeng Krachan Dam in Phetchaburi, Srinagarind Dam and Vajiralongkorn Dam in Kanchanaburi and Pranburi Dam in Prachuap Khiri Khan had risen rapidly and all were close to full capacity.

The level in Kaeng Krachan Dam was at 99 per cent capacity yesterday, at Srinagarind Dam 87 per cent, at Vajiralongkorn Dam 84 per cent and at Pranburi Dam 78 per cent.

RID director-general Thongplew Kongjun said real-time information showed the water level at Kaeng Krachan Dam’s reservoir, as of yesterday, had risen to the critical level of 701 million cubic metres. The dam’s capacity is 710 million cubic metres.

Considering the continuous huge volumes of water inflows, Thongplew said the dam would be full by last night, sending the excess water through the spillways.

According to the RID, the amount of water flowing into Kaeng Krachan Dam yesterday was 21.4 million cubic metres – far more than the outflow of 9.61 million cubic metres. It was expected that the water level in the reservoir would reach capacity by 10pm yesterday.

Thongplew assured that the drainage through the spillway would not damage the dam’s structure and the outflow would take around 32 hours to reach the lower part of the Phetchaburi River. 

He urged people downstream to prepare for flooding.

Bureau warns of heavy rainfall

He said every increase of water drainage rate at 10 cubic metres per second through the Kaeng Krachan Dam’s spillway would raise the level in the Phetchaburi River by 10 to 15 centimetres and affect low-lying areas downstream.

He urged people living along the river in Kaeng Krachan, Tha Yang, Ban Lat, Muang Phetchaburi and Ban Laem districts to closely monitor the water level in the river, move their belongings to higher ground, and evacuate children, elderly and sick persons from flood-risk areas.

Meteorological Department director-general Wanchai Sakudomchai warned that Thailand will receive more rain during the next few days as a result of the stronger southwestern monsoon, especially in western region, which is directly facing the monsoon.

Ben Petcharapiracht, a Phetchaburi resident, said people in the province were worried about the situation and actively preparing their homes for the expected flooding.

“Phetchaburi has experienced flooding three years in a row, which is very strange. But the people are most concerned about the period of this flood, as it is the first time I have heard the dam getting full, especially with three more months of rains to endure,” he said.

Most view