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Dam’s in Thailand at Breaking Point



Dams near breaking point more flooding likely as excess must be released


People in the Northeast and Central Plains have been told to brace for further flooding as dams which near bursting point are forced to release more water.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, however, is confident Bangkok will be able to cope with incoming floodwater.

Pipat Khongsilpthaweekul, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand’s chief of hydropower generation in the Northeast, said yesterday that rainwater from Storm Haitang was filling six hydropower dams in the Northeast and they would have to accelerate their discharges to prevent the reservoirs from breaking.

He was referring to the Sirindhorn Dam and Pak Moon Dam in Ubon Ratchathani province, the Chulabhorn Dam and Huay Kum Dam in Chaiyaphum, the Ubonrat Dam in Khon Kaen and the Nam Phung Dam in Sakon Nakhon.

According to Mr Pipat, waterflow into Ubonrat Dam has risen from 40-50 million cubic metres per day in the past few days to about 90 million yesterday.

The dam must raise its discharge rate from 34 million cu m/day to 50-70 million to prevent a burst.

The situation is similar at Egat’s five other northeastern hydropower dams and they must also increase their discharges.

Mr Pipat warned people living downstream to brace for worse flooding.

Meanwhile, a massive amount of water from the Ping River in Chiang Mai and Lamphun provinces is flowing into the Bhumibol Dam in Tak. Yesterday the dam held 12,481 million cu m of water, or 93% of its capacity.

The dam received 122 million cu m of water on Thursday. An irrigation official said at this rate the reservoir could fill up within a week. Therefore, it must increase its discharge from 28 million cu m to 41 million cu m/day to prevent damages to its structure.

Many dams in the North are faced with the same situation and must also speed up their discharges.

According to the Irrigation Department, excess water from the North is raising flood levels in the Chao Phraya River basin in the Central Plains.

Flood levels in the upper part of the basin from Manorom district of Chai Nat to Muang district of Lop Buri province will rise by 20-30 centimetres and flood levels in the lower part of the basin from Muang district of Lop Buri and Nong Don, Ban Mo and Don Phut districts of Saraburi to Maha Rat, Bang Pahan, Ban Phraek, Bang Ban, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Tha Rua and Nakhon Luang districts of Ayutthaya province will increase by 40-50cm. Flood levels will peak in the Chao Phraya basin on Oct 3 and 4, said the department. Khwannak Laosomboon, kamnan of tambon Kwai Yai area in Muang district of Nakhon Sawan province, yesterday asked officials to increase water discharges at the Chao Phraya Dam in Chai Nat to relieve flooding above it. Officials promised to release more water in two days.

Sanya Cheenimit, drainage director of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, said yesterday city workers were strictly controlling the water inflow from the Khlong Rangsit Prayoonsak Canal in Pathum Thani province north of Bangkok to the Khlong Prem Prachakorn Canal, which connects to the Chao Phraya River to prevent flooding in the capital.

Meanwhile, flooding continues in communities by the Khlong Rangsit Prayoonsak Canal in Pathum Thani and in Ongkharak district of Nakhon Nayok.

Prime Minister Yingluck yesterday quoted Bangkok governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra as assuring that the city’s floodwalls would protect the capital.

She admitted flooding elsewhere was critical and assistance had not reached some parts of Lop Buri. The army would deliver help to these areas, she said.

Army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha and his delegation visited Lop Buri yesterday. He promised to deploy helicopters and more boats to help flood victims.

About 10,000 soldiers, 500 road vehicles, 100 boats, aircraft and mobile kitchens have already been deployed to help flood victims in 23 provinces.

In Chiang Mai, however, the floods are receding. The level of the Ping River dropped to 3.7 metres last night, although the Chiang Mai-Lamphun Road was still inundated for several kilometres. However, flooding has gone from Muang Mai, Ton Lamyai and Waroros markets and traders have returned.

Chiang Mai governor ML Panadda Disakul puts flood damages in the northern province at more than 5 billion baht.

Public Health Minister Witthaya Buranasiri said flooding has killed 188 people nationwide and nearly 2 million people have been affected.

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