Thai government sets up 'war room' to monitor swelling dams as Mekong water level continues to rise

BANGKOK - The Thai government set up a "war room" on Friday (Aug 3) to closely monitor reservoirs which are reaching the limit of their storage capacities, Bangkok Post reported.

Mr Somkiat Prajamwong, secretary-general of the Office of the National Water Resources said a joint task force centre will be set up at the Royal Irrigation Department with officials to analyse information on the situation at reservoirs nationwide around the clock.

He said that 11 major dams need to be monitored as they are expected to reach the limit of their storage capacities in one month. Of them, two large dams - the Nam Oun dam in Sakon Nakhon and the Kaeng Krachan dam in Phetchaburi - are almost full or about 80-90 per cent of capacity and they need to be drained at a faster rate.

The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation and the people who stand to be affected by the drainage will be informed three days in advance so they can prepare to deal with the impact, he said.

The overall water situation remained at yellow alert, which denotes readiness, he added.

He said a close watch is being kept on more than 50 middle-sized dams in the north-east which are now filled to capacity to assess storage needs and release of dam water.

According to Bangkok Post, water management measures are also put in place for the Central Plains region as the Meteorological Department predicted further rainstorms in the middle of the month, he said.


Deputy Prime Minister Chatchai Sarikulya said on Thursday he had ordered all dams and reservoirs to be drained one month in advance.

However, water levels remained unusually high at several dams because rainstorms recently moved in and dumped more rain, filling some dams with up to 30 million cubic metres of water in only one day while discharges were only 2-3 million cu/m per day.

Asked if Bangkok would face floodwater similar to the 2011 deluge, Gen Chatchai said water run-off from the north will be the major factor. But currently, flooding has taken place largely in the north-east and the west and water volumes in these regions would not have any effect on Bangkok.