Flood crisis this year? We'll know by End-July

national June 15, 2012 00:00

By Anapat Deechuay
The Nation

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Subcommittee chairman Royol Jitdon said yesterday that by the end of July relevant agencies would be able to determine the amount of water and rainfall for this wet season.

“I am most worried about the Pasak Jolasid Dam,” he said. “Management of this dam is complicated.” 

Located in Lop Buri, the Pasak Jolasid Dam can hold up to 780 million cubic metres of water. For some years, though, the volume of water at this dam has been 122 per cent of its total capacity.

“We can’t keep the water level in this dam too low either, otherwise the country won’t have adequate water for the farming sector during the dry season next year,” Royol pointed out.
He was speaking during a working trip to various provinces alongside Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. 
Last year, the worst floods in several decades hit Thailand hard, claiming hundreds of lives and causing massive economic damage.
Yingluck had travelled to many upstream, midstream and downstream provinces this week in a bid to follow up on the flood-prevention projects that her government launched in the wake of last year’s severe inundation. 
Royol said he was also worried about the Sirikit Dam because the volume of water in the dam had risen significantly. 
“During the past two days, it discharged up to 32 million cubic metres of water per day,” the water expert said. “I have asked the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand to lower the amount of discharged water to 17 million cubic metres per day.”
He said if the volume of water discharged wasn’t lowered, the Yom River could overflow and cause flooding. 
As of yesterday, inundation had hit many provinces including Sukhothai. 
Speaking in his capacity as the chief of the Water and Flood Management Committee, Science Minister Plodprasob Surassawadee said the water-management system for the Yom River basin had already been laid down. 
“We will have real-time information. Early warnings can be issued one week in advance,” he said.
He reckoned that in areas where many key rivers met, management would be quite difficult. 
“We will try to achieve single-command management,” Plodprasop promised.
As of now, Royol estimated that the rainfall would be lower this year when compared to 2011. 
“This year, the rainfall should be at around 1,500mm,” he said.
Deputy Transport Minister Chatchart Sithipan said his ministry was making preparations to protect the key area stretching from Bangkok to the Pasak Jolasid Dam around the Chao Phraya River from flooding.
“We will also do our best to protect the industrial estates in this area,” he said. Last year, as many as seven industrial estates were submerged by raging flood water.
Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit said provincial governors’ performance in regards to the PMOC Flood Recovery project would count when he decided on their rotations. 

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