Irrigation Department draws lessons from previous floods to plan this year’s dam water management

The Royal Irrigation Department has drawn lessons learned from the floods in 2016-17 in planning the management of water in the Kaeng Krachan dam in Phetchaburi province to protect the Muang district from being flooded, said RID director-general Thongplaew Kongchan on Sunday.

Based on the assessment of Smart Water Operation Centre (SWOC), he said water in the dam would start spilling over the spillway at about 10 pm Sunday night and it would take about 12 hours for the overflow to reach Phetchaburi dam which would be able to hold off the overflow from Kaeng Krachan dam for a while and it would take another 20 hours for the runoffs from Phetchaburi dam to reach the Muang district.

For the time being, the amount of water that continues to flow into Kaeng Krachan dam is exceeding the amount of water being drained out estimated at 9.6 million cubic metres per day.

In order to prevent flooding in Muang district, Mr Thongplaew said officials had already strengthened the embankments along the Phetchaburi river ahead of the rainy season and had regularly checked the irrigation building to make sure it is strong enough to withstand water currents and, at the same time, had installed additional water pumps and water-pushing devices to speed up water drainage into the sea from the river.

Mr Thongplaew suggested people living along the Phetchaburi river downstream of Kaeng Krachan dam in Kaeng Krachan, Tha Yang, Ban Lat , Ban Laem and Muang districts to move their belongings to higher grounds and to evacuate elderly people and children to safer places elsewhere.

For the time being, he said the water level in Phetchaburi river is still 2-3 metres below its banks, adding that the RID is draining 115 cubic metres/second of water through the Phetchaburi dam and other normal channels and this will not affect the Muang district.

Commenting on the flooding in the Muang district in the past three running years, he blamed heavy rains in the upstream of Phetchaburi dam. But for this year, he said the spillover of water from Kaeng Krachan dam � the first time in 15 years � was due to massive rain water as a result of southwestern monsoon and Son Tinh storm which has filled up the dams in the western region within a short period of time.

He insisted that the RID had not blundered in its water management.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (ThaiPBS)