CHIANG RAI – Marine Office in Chiang Rai has warned residents along the Lower Mekong River to prepare for large overflowing after a larger than normal volume of water was released from the Jinghong dam in southern province of Yunnan, China.
As a result of the release, Mekong River water levels were recorded at 5.56 metres in Chiang Saen district and 5.75 metres in tambon Ban Seaw yesterday. The water level usually sits at 3 metres during this time of the year.
Heavy rainfall in the northern region has also contributed to the increased water level.
Pakaimas Vierra, vice-president of the Chiang Rai Chamber of Commerce and owner of Mekong Delta Travel Agency which runs Mekong River cruises said the Jinghong dam in its southern province of Yunnan had discharged a large amount of water since last Friday.
If a large volume of water has been released from the dam, water from the Mekong River could flood riverside communities in Chiang Rai’s Chiang Saen district and other northeastern provinces such as Nakhon Phanom and Nong Khai in a couple of days, she said.
Ms Pakaimas, said normally a maximum of 1,200 cubic metres (cu/m) per second is discharged from Jinghong dam per day.
However, the report from the centre indicated about 1,400-2,800 cu/m per second have been released from the dam since last Friday.
According to the centre, about 1,873 cu/m per second were released from the dam yesterday, 2,831 cu/m on Wednesday, 2,432 cu/m on Tuesday and 2,008 cu/m on Monday.
Ms Pakaimas said the centre also warned all vessels to proceed with caution.
“The centre has never warned boat operators before,” she added.
Meanwhile, the Marine Office in Chiang Rai also warned vessels to operate with caution due to heavy downpours which could result in increased water levels in the Mekong River. Vessels must also reduce speed while docking to prevent possible accidents.
The Jinghong dam is a large catchment located in China’s Yunnan province, about 344km north of Chiang Saen district. The dam’s construction was completed in 2009. It is used for production of hydroelectric power.