Friday, November 15, 2019

Storms bring portents of heavy rains next week

Sep 12. 2018
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THAILAND is bracing for a series of heavy rains brought by two approaching storms during the next seven days, while people living downstream of dams asked for thoughtful water management to minimise impacts from water discharge.

The Meteorological Department released the weather warning yesterday, cautioning that many parts of Thailand will see a large amount of precipitation from Tropical Storm Barijat, which will affect the northern and northeastern region today and tomorrow, and Typhoon Mangkhut, which will affect the windward areas of the central, eastern, and southwestern region from next Sunday until next Tuesday.

These two storms, though, will not directly hit Thailand. They will strengthen the southwestern monsoon, which will bring heavier rains in the mentioned areas. The Meteorological Department warned that people in these locations should beware of the heavy downpour and stay alert for possible flash floods and landslides.

The stronger monsoon will also stir the sea, causing rough conditions and waves up to three metres in both Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. It would be dangerous for small boats to go out to sea during this period, the Meteorological Department cautioned.

Royal Irrigation Department (RID) deputy director-general Taweesak Thanadechophol said that these two storms were not a high concern for the department, as the RID had already prepared for more precipitation during the rest of September by draining water at all major dams.

“Medium and large reservoirs in the country are now strictly regulated and under careful water management, so considering the overall capacity of every dam, our water management system can receive up to 18.44 billion cubic metres of water,” Taweesak said.

He also assured that the water situation in the Chao Phraya River Basin was also manageable, as four major dams in the water basin still had enough room for more than 7.8 billion cubic metres of water. 

“The RID has also ordered the officers at all affected areas to watch out for unexpected emergencies,” he said.

At the local level in the Mae Klong River Basin, Bandit Pansawat, a Samut Songkram resident, said his hometown is at the delta of Mae Klong River and is the lowest downstream area from Vajiralongkorn and Srinagarind dams on each of two main tributaries of Mae Klong River, which was going to discharge more water.

Bandit said the citizens in Samut Songkram were inevitably affected by more water discharge from these two dams upriver, so he asked the water management agencies to carefully manage the water by considering the sea level tide and possible impacts from floods and too much freshwater discharge to the sea.

“Every time the dams discharge too much or too little water, the aquaculture farmers at the river delta will suffer heavily from mass die out due to a rapid change of salinity and water pollution,” Bandit said.

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