Storm Bebinca an ill omen as dams close to bursting

Storm Bebinca an ill omen as dams close to bursting

Storm frays nerves in rain-hit Kanchanaburi

Dams in Kanchanaburi including the Vajiralongkorn dam are close to 90% of capacity and have been ordered to increase their output in order to absorb coming floodwaters. (File Photo)
Dams in Kanchanaburi including the Vajiralongkorn dam are close to 90% of capacity and have been ordered to increase their output in order to absorb coming floodwaters. (File Photo)

Two major dams in Kanchanaburi were almost full Thursday evening, especially Vajiralongkorn dam where more than three times as much water is flowing in as is being discharged, according to the director of the office managing it.

The critical water situation was revealed at a time when most parts of the country are preparing to cope with the impact of Tropical Storm Bebinca, which was forecast to bring torrential rain to parts of Thailand for the rest of the week.

Vajiralongkorn dam, in Thong Pha Phum district, was 87.86% full as of Thursday morning while the average water inflow rate was measured at 132.05 million cubic metres (cu/m) per day, said Waiwit Saengphanich.

He said a sub-committee tasked with making decisions on the dam's water management policy had resolved to adjust the discharge rate of excess water to 43 million cu/m a day, down from 41.42 million cu/m per day, starting Thursday.

The dam now has enough capacity to receive 1.07 billion cu/m more water, he said, adding its structure was in perfect condition as daily checks have shown.

Meanwhile, Srinakarin dam in Si Sawat district was at 87.8% capacity and estimated to be able to receive 2.1 billion cu/m more water, said Prasert Inthap, director of the office managing it.

Water was flowing in at more than twice the rate the excess was being discharged, he said, adding the dam's structure was strong enough to withstand the pressure of higher volume.

Hi-tech equipment was being deployed to ensure its safety as part of the response effort, he said.

Relentless heavy rains have lashed the area for several days now, especially Sai Yok, Thong Pha Phum and Sangkhla Buri districts, resulting in huge run-off flowing into Vajiralongkorn dam, said a source.

Under the circumstances, these two dams are being required to scale up their discharging of excess water for at least the next two months, the source said.

In Sakon Nakhon's Phang Khon district, Nam Un dam was brimming with water as of Thursday afternoon.

About 2 million cu/m was being discharged daily, almost exactly matching the rate of inflow, said another source.

About 91% of all 177 reservoirs in this province were more than 80% full, highlighting the need to scale up drainage efforts while taking pains to limit the impact on areas that are either flood-prone or already flooded, said the source.

In neighbouring Nakhon Phanom, communities living along the Nam Un and Nam Songkhram rivers have already been hit by water overflowing the rivers' banks and were stockpiling dry grass for cattle.

Tambon Songkhram in Si Songkhram district was hit hard, although no immediate reports of damage were available.

These rivers receive water drained from Nam Un Dam in Sakon Nakhon before flowing out to the Mekong in Tha Uthen district.

The water level there was at 13.60m on Thursday, 1.6m above the critical level.

Residents believe the flooding will be worse than last year, they said.


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