Thai govt to set up 'war room' to monitor swelling dams

BANGKOK • The Thai government planned to set up a "war room" yesterday to closely monitor reservoirs which are reaching the limit of their storage capacities, the Bangkok Post reported.

Mr Somkiat Prajamwong, secretary-general of the Office of the National Water Resources, said a joint task force centre would 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 and 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 medium-sized dams in the north-east which are now filled to capacity to assess storage needs and release of dam water. According to the Bangkok Post, water management measures are also put in place for the Central Plains region as the Meteorological Department predicted more 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. Asked if Bangkok would face flood waters similar to the 2011 deluge, General 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.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2018, with the headline 'Thai govt to set up 'war room' to monitor swelling dams'. Print Edition | Subscribe