Villagers urge that dam not increase water flow at night

A man walks on the sandbags used as a flood barrier in Sapphaya district of Chai Nat on Thursday night. (Photo by Chudate Seehawong)

CHAI NAT: Villagers from three tambons in Sapphaya district have requested the Royal Irrigation Department (RID) not to increase the volume of released water at night, saying they cannot cope with the resulting flooding.

The Chao Phraya Dam has been forced to increase the rate of water discharge to 2,600 cubic metres per second in response to the rise in the Chao Phraya River’s water level on Friday.

According to villagers, however, the dam management has in the past also increased the flow at night, causing water to overflow the sand barriers and flood the villages while they were asleep. They were then forced to repair the flood barriers and pump out the floodwaters. 

The villagers have requested that the dam increase the volume of discharged water only during the daytime. They also want to the RID to keep its promise to release a maximum of 2,600 cubic metres per second; otherwise, they said, the water would be as high as the 2011 level.

Chai Nat was one of the provinces identified by the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation on Friday as being at high risk of burst riverbanks. The other seven provinces are Lop Buri, Kamphaengphet, Sing Buri, Ang Thong, Ayutthaya, Nakhon Sawan and Tak.

Flooding has affected 27 districts and 43,633 households with 121,317 residents. One person was reported dead from the floods.

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