Laos asked to give data to prevent Isan floods

Laos asked to give data to prevent Isan floods

River communities in Nakhon Phanom’s Muang district are inundated after the Mekong River bursts its banks in the wake of heavy rainfall in July last year. (Photo by Pattanapong Sripiachai)
River communities in Nakhon Phanom’s Muang district are inundated after the Mekong River bursts its banks in the wake of heavy rainfall in July last year. (Photo by Pattanapong Sripiachai)

Thai authority has asked Laotian Government to provide data and information about water resources and management plans involving the Mekong River directly to Thai authorities to assess the water situation and take action to prevent floods in eight northeastern provinces.

Somkiat Prajamwong, secretary-general of the Office of Natural Water Resources, said data and information sought from Laos include amounts of rainfall, planned water releases from reservoirs and hydroelectricity development projects in the river basin.

He said the cooperation is in addition to the existing mechanism under the Mekong River Commission, an inter-government agency that works with regional governments to manage the resources and development of the Mekong River. He said both sides have also agreed on the proposed technical cooperation framework involving the Xayaburi hydropower dam in Laos, which is scheduled to begin commercial operations later this year.

According to Mr Somkiat, the framework also addresses exchanges of data and information about the dam's flood prediction and management system as well as safety management and contingency plans for emergencies.

The Xayaburi project is located in northern Laos and is projected to have the largest hydroelectric power capacity in Southeast Asia at 1,285MW.

He said the Thai-Lao information sharing will help improve Mekong River management as timely information is crucial to help Thai authorities assess water levels during the rainy season.

According to Mr Somkiat, Thailand also signed a memorandum of understanding with China last week on the exchange of data and information about water resources from July to October.


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