Officials race to divert water into the Gulf to prevent Chao Phraya overflowing
Thailand’s National Water Resources Office and the Royal Irrigation Department have been racing against time to divert massive amounts of water from flowing into the Chao Phraya River, by discharging it directly into the Gulf of Thailand, ahead of the peak water inflow at the confluence of the Ping, Wang, Yom and Nan rivers in Nakhon Sawan province.
Mr. Somkiat Prajamwong, secretary-general of the National Water Resources Office, said today (Wednesday) that the flow of water at the C2 station, in Muang district of Nakhon Sawan, where the four rivers meet to form the Chao Phraya River, will reach a peak flow of 2,683 cubic metre/second in the next 1 or 2 days, but will not exceed 2,820 cubic/second.
He assured that water will not overflow the river’s banks, but low-lying areas may be flooded because the peak could reach 3,500 cubic metres/second.
He noted that the management of water from the Pasak Jolasid Dam is crucial in protecting Ayutthaya and Bangkok from flooding, besides the need to control the water level in the Chao Phraya River itself, to prevent it from overflowing. Irrigation officials have, therefore, reduced the volume of water to be discharged through the Pasak Jolasid Dam.
He also said that excess water must be prevented from flowing into Lop Buri province, by diverting it into Khlong Rapeepat.
To allay the concerns of residents in Bangkok, Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi about possible flooding, Mr. Somkiat said both his office and the Royal Irrigation Department are working together to limit the volume of water released from the Chao Phraya Dam to under 2,800 cubic metres/second and to divert water into the Gulf, via the western and eastern flanks of the Chao Phraya, to ease pressure on the river.
“This is possible because the tide in the Gulf is not high yet,” he said, adding that he has to monitor the situation on an hourly basis, to make sure that the Chao Phraya River is not swollen and not too much water is released downstream from the Chao Phraya Dam in Chainat province.