Dam water freed as RID girds for rain

Dam water freed as RID girds for rain

The Royal Irrigation Department (RID) has expedited the release of water from the Chao Phraya dam so it can take in more water from the north, as more heavy rainfall is expected this weekend.

RID deputy director-general Narong Leenanon said Tuesday the department will speed up the discharging of water from the dam ahead of the heavy downpours forecast in central and eastern Thailand by the Meteorological Department.

Prayut: Farmers to get compensation

Mr Narong said the RID will continue to release water from the dam until water levels upstream reach 15.5 metres above sea level, which will enable areas upriver to accommodate some 36 million cubic metres (cu/m) of water.

Residents along the Chao Phraya River basin were warned to move their belongings to higher ground to avoid possible flooding. Sandbags were also laid along riverfront communities. If rainfall this weekend is less severe than expected, the discharge of water will be reduced, he said.

As for the Pasak Chonlasit dam in Lop Buri, Mr Narong said the dam currently holds 906 million cu/m of water or 94% of its total capacity. About 60 million cu/m per day is being released from the dam to free up capacity ahead of the looming rains. Mr Narong also insisted the dam's release will not affect Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi's Pak Kret district or Bangkok, as some had feared. The department aimed to release water into the sea as quickly as possible.

As for the Ping, Wang, Yom and Nan rivers, Mr Narong said water levels have returned to normal, except in Sukhothai's Kong Krailat district, Phichit and Phitsanulok due to heavy rain last week.

Lertchai Sri-anan, director of the RID's Office of Water Management and Hydrology, assured the public the water situation this year was different from the major floods of 2011 in which the country's total volume of water reached about 10 billion cu/m as a result of early rainfall and storms at the end of the year.

Water levels in the Chao Phraya and Pasak rivers were under control, he added.

Speaking after the Tuesday cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the government would offer compensation of 1,000 baht per rai to farmers whose paddy fields were affected by flooding. The cabinet also resolved to pay 3,000 baht in compensation to each household.

In Ayutthaya, farmers in two tambons of Bang Sai district on Tuesday agreed to have water diverted to their farmland to alleviate flooding in the province after the harvest.

The agreement came after farmers in tambon Bang Sai opposed the release of water into their farmland as proposed by tambon Mai Tra villagers, saying they have yet to harvest their crops which is expected to finish tomorrow.

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