Sirikit dam faces water level crisis

Sirikit dam faces water level crisis

The Sirikit dam (photo by Thiti Wannamontha)
The Sirikit dam (photo by Thiti Wannamontha)

The water level of the Sirikit dam has dropped to its most critical in recent years as a result of low rainfall in the dam's catchment area, forcing cuts in water releases as the country counts down to the dry season.

Suthep Lertsrimongkhon, director of the Sirikit dam in Uttaradit province, yesterday said the water level in the dam was at its lowest since the dam began operating 39 years ago.

Mr Suthep said the low water level will directly affect more than 40,000 rai of farmland and also more than 4,000 fish raised in floating baskets in tambons Wang Kapi and Ban Koh of Muang district and tambons Thung Yang and Pailom in Laplae district. 

Mr Suthep said usually 4.2 billion cubic metres of water (44.99% of the dam's full capacity) was reserved in the Sirikit dam. 

However, the available water volume was only 1.4 billion cu/m (21.45% of its full capacity). Only 14 million cu/m daily flowed into the dam.  

"Rainfall is likely to fall by the end of this month or there might be no rain as the country is entering the dry season," Mr Suthep said.

"Therefore, we will cut the amount of water discharged from the dam, starting from Sept 27 onwards, in preparation for drought."

Mr Suthep said the dam will release 4 million cu/m of water per day. It previously released 9 million cu/m per day.

Local villagers have been kept informed of the water situation so they will be able to plan their agriculture and fish-farming properly.

Mr Suthep, however, asked residents to suspend off-season rice cultivation.

Meanwhile, in Nan, around 400 villagers of Ban Huai Hai were left stranded after flash floods triggered by heavy downpours swept away a wooden bridge used as an entrance to a road in Phu Phiang district.

The bridge was repaired by residents before help from authorities arrived.

In Nakhon Sawan, a surge in water levels in the Ping River triggered by torrential rainfall damaged more than 30 metres of a weir along the river in Kao Lieo district yesterday. 

Wisarn Wasuntaraporn, chief of the Irrigation Office in Nakhon Sawan, said his staff could not fix the damaged weir until strong currents resided.

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