Dams drained to make way for "Gaemi"

national October 03, 2012 00:00


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Two reservoirs in Nakhon Ratchasima are being drained in order to enable them to fully accommodate a large volume of water expected with a major storm, which will cause torrential rains this weekend.

The government and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration are also getting ready to implement immediate response measures, including the drastic drainage of major dams in the North and the systematic opening of floodgates, to brace for heavy downpours when the Gaemi Tropical Storm arrives in Thailand this weekend.

Lam Phra Phlueng Reservoirs 1 and 2 were full to the brim and draining was underway, senior irrigation official Prathueng Wandee said. Residents living south to the reservoirs had been warned of possible flash floods caused by the draining coupled with the heavy downpours the storm will bring, he said.

Dams and reservoirs in Udon Thani had space for more water, indeed cloud-seeding efforts were needed in some areas where rain has been scarce, senior irrigation official Banyaluck Chalongsapphanyoo said.

The Huay Luang reservoir, the largest in Udon Thani, along with other reservoirs in the province are only half full.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday ordered systematic drainage of dams in the North and once again asked the BMA to continue dredging the capital’s underground sewers. In addition, new traffic measures to cope with inevitable congestion during flooding in both Bangkok and elsewhere are being worked out.

Yesterday, Deputy Transport Minister Chatchart Sithipan informed the Cabinet of the new traffic regulations put in place so far. Asked about a new policy that allows government offices to close ahead of normal hours in case of heavy flooding, Yingluck told reporters to talk to Chatchart.

Separately, Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra ordered two major watergates in eastern Bangkok to be opened and closed on a contingency basis so officials have the flexibility to make decisions on their own. However, he insists that there is close and constant coordination between the BMA and area irrigation offices.

In addition, all 50 district offices have received relief supplies, sandbags and equipment for immediate distribution and all district chiefs will meet today to seek solutions for residential areas deemed the most vulnerable or those located outside the main flood barricades. 

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