About the floods
With droughts & dams half-full until May this year, storms then filled dams & water was released slowly to avoid even greater flooding.
FLOODING: Egat chief says dams 'not to blame', Cause was 'heavy rain, not mismanagement' by Yuthana Praiwan
Unusually heavy rains, not dam mismanagement, was the main factor behind the severity of this year's floods, says Sutat Patmasiriwan, the governor of the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat).
If not for the country's northern dams, the floodwaters inundating much of the country would be three times greater than now, he said.
Egat, together with the Royal Irrigation Department, are the two agencies responsible for managing the country's dams and the water that discharges into the nation's irrigation network.
At the start of the line are the Royal Irrigation Department and the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat), the two agencies responsible for managing the country's dams.
Many pundits, such as Smith Dharmasarojana, the chairman of the National Disaster Warning Council, have been scathing in their criticism that water levels in the Bhumibol Dam on the Ping River and the Sirikit Dam along the Nan River, were held way too high for the start of the monsoon season [Read Smith's criticism here].
The critical period was in July, when water levels began to rise sharply and the focus of the country and bureaucracy was on the general elections and formation of the new Pheu Thai-led government. But Mr Sutat says it is unfair to drag the agency into political mudslinging over the cause of the floods, which he pinned on the abnormally heavy rains this year.
"The country is in the middle of a serious natural crisis. Rather than accuse each other, we should be cooperating to solve the problems," he said.
Mr Sutat said the popular belief that water releases by the upper northern dams contributed to the floods was wrong.
Just the opposite, he said - if not for the two major dams, the Central Plains would be inundated by over 30 billion cubic metres of water, or two to three times the amount today.
The Irrigation Department says that over the first 10 months of the year, 11.488 billion cubic metres of water were collected at the Bhumibol Dam, with 4.085 billion released downstream.
For the Sirikit Dam, 10.3 billion cubic metres of water were collected with 6.573 billion released.
The Central Plains are now flooded from water running from five rivers - the Ping, the Wang, the Yom, the Chao Phraya and the Sakae Krang rivers.
The Bhumibol and Sirikit dams, which supply 20% of the water used for irrigation in the central provinces, were running relatively low at just 45% to 50% capacity from the end of 2010 to this past May due to drought.
When tropical storm Haima hit in June, the country's free-flowing rivers, including the Sakae Krang, the Yom and the Wang, all burst their banks and caused flooding in Phitsanulok, Sukhothai, Phichit and Nakhon Sawan.
Both the Bhumibol Dam, with a capacity of 13.46 billion cu m, and the Sirikit Dam with 9.51 billion cu m, halted water discharges during the period.
From the end of July through to last month, four more major storms hit the country, leading to nearly all of the country's dams reaching full capacity, including the Bhumibol and Sirikit dams.
Egat was forced to open spillways for the Sirikit Dam from the end of August until early September, while spillways at the Bhumibol Dam opened last month.
"Over the past 30 years, Thailand typically has been hit by two or three major storms a year," Mr Sutat said. "This year, we were hit by five storms, one after another. There was no time for the water to drain into the Gulf of Thailand.
Water outflows from the Sirikit Dam averaged about 40 million cu m per day, and 70 to 150 million cu m at the Bhumibol Dam over a period of 12 to 18 days, he said.
(Source: Bangkok Post, FLOODING, Egat chief says dams 'not to blame', Cause was 'heavy rain, not mismanagement', 3/11/2011, Yuthana Praiwan, link)
Weather and the Floods Vocabulary
storm - a severe weather condition "marked by strong wind, hail, thunder and/or lightning (a thunderstorm), heavy precipitation (snowstorm, rainstorm), heavy freezing rain (ice storm), strong winds (tropical storm, hurricane, windstorm) or wind transporting some substance through the atmosphere (as in a dust storm, blizzard, sandstorm, etc.). Storms generally lead to negative impacts to lives and property, such as storm surge, heavy rain or snow (causing flooding or road impassibility), lightning, wildfires, and vertical wind shear which can cause airplane crashes" (See Wikipedia)
tropical - relating to the hottest area of the Earth, between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn ในเขตร้อน
tropical cyclone - "a storm system characterized by a large low-pressure center and numerous thunderstorms that produce strong winds and heavy rain ... tropical cyclones are classified into three main groups, based on intensity: tropical depressions, tropical storms, and a third group of more intense storms, whose name depends on the region," often called a "hurricane" or "typhoon" (See Wikipedia)
tropical storm - a medium intensity tropical cyclone, "strong thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds between 17 metres per second (33 kn) (39 miles per hour (63 km/h)) and 32 metres per second (62 kn) (73 miles per hour (117 km/h)). At this point, the distinctive cyclonic shape starts to develop, although an eye is not usually present. Government weather services, other than the Philippines, first assign names to systems that reach this intensity (thus the term named storm)" (See Wikipedia)
tropical storm Haima - a tropical storm in June, 2011 (See Wikipedia)
tropical storm Haima hit in June
blame - saying that someone caused or is responsible for some bad event
X blames Y for Z - person X says that person Y is the cause of bad event Z
not to blame - when a person did not cause a bad event (they are not "responsible" for the bad event)
accuse - blame
accuse each other - when each side blames the other side (says the other side was the one that caused the problem)
cooperating - working together to achieve goals
cooperating to solve the problems
mismanagement - not managing well, resulting in failure or poor performance; organising or controlling something badly การจัดการผิด
heavy rain, not mismanagement
factor - a fact or situation which influences the result of something ปัจจัย
unusually heavy rains, not dam mismanagement, was the main factor behind the severity of this year's floods
Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) - the government owned and operated electricity generation company in Thailand
inundate - flood with water
the floodwaters inundating much of the country
irrigation - the process of supplying water to an area of land through pipes or channels so that crops will grow การชลประทาน (See Wikipedia)
network - a large system of connected parts, organisations, people, etc. เครือข่าย
discharge - when something such as water comes out of a place or container
water that discharges into the nation's irrigation network
at the start of the line - at the beginning of a series of places along the river
pundits - experts who offer their opinion on issues of widespread interest (through newspapers or over the internet)
criticism - 1. serious examination and judgement of something; 2. finding fault and disapproving of something การประเมินผลงาน, การวิจารณ์, บทวิจารณ์
scathing criticism - very strong and severe criticism
scathing in their criticism - very strong and severe criticism
monsoon season - the season of heavy rain during the summer in hot Asian countries (See Wikipedia) ฤดูมรสุม มรสุม
critical - very important because a future situation will be affected by it สำคัญยิ่ง
critical period - a very important period of time (what happens at this time, determines future events)
focus - think about and work on one thing (rather than waste time on many), concentrate time and attention on one thing ให้ความสำคัญ
bureaucracy - large government departments (with lots of red tape; known for following rules strictly and slowly)
the focus of the country and bureaucracy was on the general elections
drag - to pull something or someone along with difficulty ลาก
drag X into Y - bring person or group X into situation Y in which they do not belong (they do not want to enter also)
mudslinging - negative political campaigning, saying bad things about your opponent (usually in an election) insulting, damaging and being unfair to them (See Wikipedia)
drag the agency into political mudslinging
pin X on Y - say that Y caused X, blame Y for causing X
the cause of the floods, which he pinned on the abnormally heavy rains this year
crisis - an urgent, difficult or dangerous situation วิกฤตการณ์ วิกฤต
natural - found in nature (not made in a factory by humans) ตามธรรมชาติ
natural crisis - a crisis caused by events in nature (heavy rains leading to flooding)
inundated - flooded ถูกน้ำท่วม, จมลงใต้น้ำ
if not for the two major dams, the Central Plains would be inundated by over 30 billion cubic metres of water
release - allow to leave; let something go (example: release water from a dam)
capacity - the total amount that can be contained ปริมาณสูงสุดที่จะรับได้
just 45% to 50% capacity - only 45% to 50% of the total amount that the dam can hold (if full of water)
drought - a period when there is very little rain or water available in an area (See Wikipedia) ความแห้งแล้ง
Bhumibol and Sirikit dams were running relatively low at just 45% to 50% capacity from the end of 2010 to this past May due to drought
burst - when a container breaks open with something coming out, such as water, gas (example: The cooking gas cylinder burst and exploded injuring several people walking past the foodstall.)
river bank - the sides of a river
burst their banks - when the water from the river breaks through or passes over the sides and onto the dry land
halted - stopped
halted water discharges
spillway - cement waterways or passages for water flowing out from a dam
spillways at the Bhumibol Dam opened last month.
typically - usually; normally อย่างเป็นแบบฉบับ
over the past 30 years, Thailand typically has been hit by two or three major storms a year
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