Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Dam gates to be opened amid heavy rains

Jul 26. 2017
Protected by an umbrella and raincoat, a resident wades through floodwater amid heavy downpours in Kalasin's Muang district yesterday.
Protected by an umbrella and raincoat, a resident wades through floodwater amid heavy downpours in Kalasin's Muang district yesterday.
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WITH TROPICAL depression Sonca looming and heavy rainfall expected, the Royal Irrigation Department has ordered water released from 11 major dams in the North, Northeast and Central region. There is a possibility of flooding in Ang Thong and Ayutthaya.

Department deputy chief Thongplew Kongjan said the major and mid-scale dams as of Monday held 44,394 million cubic metres of water – about 59 per cent of their combined capacity. That volume was 10,229 cubic metres more than they held at the same time last year, he said. 

Eleven dams at high levels will release substantial amounts of water – Lampang’s Kiew Lom and Kiew Khor Ma, Phitsanulok’s Kwai Noi Bymrungdan, Sakhon Nakhon’s Nam Un and Nam Pung, Khon Kaen’s Ubolrat, Nakhon Ratchasima’s Lam Phra Phloeng, Ubol Ratchathani’s Sirindhorn, Lop Buri’s Pasak Jolasid, Uthai Thani’s Thab Salao and Suphan Buri’s Kra Sieo.

Suchat Charoensri, director of the 12th Royal Irrigation Office in Chai Nat, said the Chao Phraya Dam in that province is expected to receive a large volume of mountain runoff next week, so it will release comparatively more water. 

Downstream rivers and canals will rise as a result by 15-25cm and flooding could occur in low-laying riverside areas in Ang Thong and Ayutthaya, he warned. The Thai Meteorological Department yesterday morning downgraded tropical depression Sonca to an active low-pressure area as it moves over the Thai Northeast, lower North and upper Central region. It is expected to dissipate by tomorrow, but rainfall is likely to be widespread, with “heavy” and “very heavy” downpours in some isolated areas. Citizens are advised to beware of severe weather triggering flash floods.

Meanwhile, Kalasin governor Suwit Khamdee has instructed officials to be prepared for heavy rainfall from tropical storm Sonca and has established a “front command team” in each district to assist residents affected by flooding.

The latest moves come after storm Talas last week damaged 14,000 rai of rice fields in the northeastern province.

Heavy rains continued yesterday due to Sonca’s influence and a large volume of water poured into 18 reservoirs in Kalasin 10 to make room for the expected deluge. 

Suwit called a meeting of relevant officials at City Hall to prepare for floods and landslides.

Ten out of the province’s 18 districts had been affected by Talas downpours that damaged 14,000 rai of rice field and 10 roads last week, said provincial disaster prevention chief Wichan Thanhin. 

Authorities have assessed rice field compensation to farmers at Bt1,113 per rai up to 30 rai per case, he added. In Ubon Ratchathani, days of Sonca downpours caused severe flooding in Si Muang Mai, Khong Chiam and Nam Yuen district marooning several villages. 

Tambon Nong Saeng Yai officials in Khong Chiam dispatched flat-bottom boats to aid residents in Tha Ma Fai village where a one-kilometre section of the only road was under two metres of water. 

Three other villages – Ban Dong Bak, Ban Nong Saeng Noi and Ban Kud Ya Kham – also suffered similar flooding.

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