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Major dams over capacity

Children enjoy floodwater at an inundated community in Bangkok Noi district.

Children enjoy floodwater at an inundated community in Bangkok Noi district.

Bangkok's fate may hinge on Pasak Jalasid Dam which is 135percent full; North, Northeast face more rains, floods' major clean-up in Chiang Mai

Eleven of the country's 26 major dams currently contain more water than their official capacity, while others are 82 to 99 per cent "full", according to the latest updates released by the Royal Irrigation Department yesterday.

The news came as 23 provinces remain flooded and a new tropical storm was expected to bring more rains.

Pasak Jalasid Dam in Lop Buri, which is credited for preventing severe flooding in Bangkok since its completion in 1999, has 135 per cent of its capacity, according to the RID website (water.rid.go.th).

Nine major dams are over 90 per cent "full", including Sirikit Dam in Uttaradit (99 per cent), Ubon Ratchathani's Sirindhorn Dam (95 per cent), and Bhumibol Dam in Tak (93 per cent).

The Chao Phraya River was flowing at a rate of 4,344 cubic metres per second through Nakhon Sawan and at 3,255 cubic metres per second through Ayutthaya's Bang Sai district, the department reported.

The 8th Irrigation Office in Nakhon Ratchasima yesterday ordered brimming dams and reservoirs under its supervision to release up to 2.5 million cubic metres of water per day to support the "Nesat" depression-triggered rainfall.

Meanwhile, the Meteorological Department warned people in the eastern part of the North and the upper part of the Northeast of widespread scattered rain with heavy falls and the danger of floods over the next few days, due to the "Nesat" depression.

Chiang Rai, Nan, Nong Khai, Beuang Kan, Sakhon Nakhon and Nakhon Phanom residents should beware of flash flood in this period, the department said. The southwest monsoon over the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand would cause 2-metre to 3-metre-high waves, so all ships should proceed with caution and small boats should keep ashore in this period, it said.

The head of the 24/7 Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) for Flood, Storm and Landslide, deputy interior permanent secretary Phranai Suwannarat, said flood water remained in 150 districts in 23 provinces. More than 1.84 million people had been affected and some 6.16 million rai of farmland damaged.

The flood toll was 205 deaths, with two people missing.

He warned that the Ping River basin still had much water and a tendency to rise, while Muang Khon Kaen and Muang Maha Sarakham would suffer overflows from the Chi River in 1-2 days. The Chao Phraya basin's 10 provinces such as Chai Nat, Sing Buri, Lop Buri, Ang Thong, Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi would also be affected by overflows.

Phranai also urged Chiang Rai, Phayao, Nan, Nong Khai and Phang Nga to watch out for possible landslides, as they had already had over 100mm of rainfall.

In the North, Chiang Mai City had a major clean-up yesterday as flood water receded.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Preecha Rengsomboonsuk, who sent four teams of 600 cleaners and 10 water-trucks to clean up the city area, said all remaining areas should dry out later because Ping River was below a critical point and 40 water pumps had been sent to drain floodwater.

He said Thailand needed "Monkey Cheek" water retention areas or reservoirs to solve flood problems, which would cost Bt500 million to Bt600 million to build. The three-day flood generated at least 1,000 tonnes of garbage, more than three times Chiang Mai City's usual garbage of 300 tonnes.

Chiang Mai Governor Panadda Disakul, who also joined a clean-up of the Night Bazaar, said he had prepared 500,000 sandbags to repair flood barriers so the Chiang Mai clean-up would go on for another two days. He said that officials would speed up aid to residents in Saraphi and San Sai districts still suffering inundation.

Residents in Saraphi district's Thanachoke Housing Estate that suffered from one-metre-deep flood called for floating toilets.

Floods in several other provinces worsened yesterday. Some 100 homes in Lam Tha Daeng village were hit by a four-metre-deep flood in Ang Thong's Mueang district. And Chao Phraya River overflows burst flood-barriers and submerged 200 homes in Tambon Khung Sampao in Chai Nat's Manorom district. A resident in Sakae Krang of Uthai Thani's Mueang district claimed a crocodile was lurking in 1.5-metre-deep flood surrounding his elevated home.

Brimming over

The 11 dams that are filled to or beyond capacity

Pasak Jalasid (Lop Buri) 135%

Chulabhorn (Chaiyaphum) 120%

Prasae (Rayong) 108%

Ubonrat (Khon Kaen) 108%

Nam Oun (Sakon Nakhon) 106%

Mae Ngad (Chiang Mai) 104%

Nong Pla Lai (Rayong) 104%

Lam Pao (Kalasin) 101%

Mae Kuang (Chiang Mai) 101%

Nam Pung (Sakon Nakhon) 101%

Khlong Sriyat (Chachoengsao) 100%

Source: Royal Irrigation Department


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