Sunday, September 22, 2019

Phetchaburi town set to reel under runoff

Aug 08. 2018
Phetch Dam
Phetch Dam
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By The Nation

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PHETCHABURI town is set to be inundated this weekend, even after the Royal Irrigation Department has stemmed and even slowed down the run-off from upstream zones.

The department expects the volume of water in Phetchaburi River to peak on Saturday, with 230 to 250 cubic metres of water flowing into the Phetch Dam per second. 

Phetch Dam sits in Phetchaburi’s Tha Yang district, between the now-overwhelmed Kaeng Krachan Dam and Phetchaburi’s Muang district. Some 55 cubic metres per second will be diverted from the Phetch Dam to the irrigation system along the river before it heads to town, while another 35 cubic metres per second will be directed to the D9 drainage canal. 

Kaeng Krachan Dam

The remaining 140 to 160 cubic metres per second will hit downstream areas.

Though this volume of water is not expected to flood the Tha Yang district, Muang district could suffer from the overflowing Phetchaburi River on Sunday. 

In fact, some communities in the district will find themselves under 30 to 50 centimetres of water for seven to 10 days. 

Close watch on all dams

The department’s director-general, Thongplew Kongchan, confirmed yesterday that Kaeng Krachan Dam had exceeded its capacity. 

“The dam is now 103 per cent full,” he said, explaining why large volumes of water had to be discharged from the dam. 

“He added that water up to 46-centimetres deep was being released down the spillway constantly. 

However, downstream communities should not be too badly affected by this rapid release, apart from some low-lying riverside resorts, he said. 

Also, some 40 pumps have been installed along the Phetchaburi River to speed the run-off to sea. 

These boats and officials are in charge of speeding up the water flow in the Phetchaburi River in Phetchaburi province yesterday, as Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha turns up to inspect water management. 

While Muang district should be inundated for a week to 10 days, Ban Laem – located at the point where Phetchaburi River meets the sea – could be submerged for about a month, he said. 

High tide could slow the run-off to sea in Ban Laem, but action is being taken to minimise the effect, he added. 

So far, 40 boats and pumps have been put in place in the area to ease the impact, though the boats may not be that effective when high |tides hit the area during the weekend. 

Thongplew was at hand to brief Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha during his visit to Phetchaburi yesterday. 

The authorities are keeping a close watch on four dams in the area due to the huge volumes of water they contain. 

Apart from the brimming Kaeng Krachan Dam, Nam Oun Dam in Sakhon Nakhon province is 103 per cent full, while Vajiralongkorn and Srinakharin dams in Kanchanaburi province are 85 and 87 per cent full respectively.

The weather bureau, meanwhile, has predicted heavy downpours and warned of landslides in 31 provinces. Among them is Ranong province, where some 3,000 residents in Kapur district are suffering from the impact of flash floods. 

Though flooding has subsided in some areas, many low-lying parts were reported to still be submerged as of press time. 

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