Dams draining, Ubon drowning: PM voices dual flooding woes in Thailand

Photo: by Jéan Béller, on Unsplash.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin voiced concerns regarding the diminishing water levels in major reservoirs and dams across the nation, even as the province of Ubon Ratchathani endures severe flooding. The prime minister, accompanied by the agriculture minister, Captain Thammanat Prompow, was apprised of the situation at the Royal Irrigation Department (RID) on Wednesday.

In the briefing, the 61 year old prime minister was informed of rainfall volumes, water levels at the nation’s significant dams and reservoirs, and the flood situation in Ubon Ratchathani.

MPs from the province have informed PM Srettha that the floods may take a month to subside. The prime minister intends to visit Ubon Ratchathani, a crucial economic hub in the lower northeastern region, in 10 days.

Ubon Ratchathani has been severely affected by recent storms, resulting in widespread flooding due to heavy rainfall. Large-scale reservoirs and dams across the country, PM Srettha was informed, are currently storing less water than expected for this stage in the rainy season.

Current statistics indicate that the combined water volume held by these major dams and reservoirs is 2,500 million cubic metres, half the level recorded at the same time last year. However, these reservoirs and dams have the capacity to accommodate an additional 2,600 million cubic metres of water.

Water shortages

The RID also highlighted the six main reservoirs and dams – Pran Buri reservoir in Prachuap Khiri Khan, Kra Siaow dam in Suphan Buri, Tab Salao reservoir in Uthai Thani, Pasak Jolasid dam in Lop Buri, and Bhumibol dam in Tak – are currently holding less than 30% of their full capacity. Despite predictions of a severe drought in numerous regions, industrial estates in the eastern provinces are not experiencing water shortages, according to the RID.

During the briefing, PM Srettha was particularly concerned about the flooding in Ubon Ratchathani, a region affected by a severe storm that threatens both lives and the local economy.

The Thai Meteorological Department (TMD) anticipates heavy rainfall across much of the country until next week. The TMD also predicts that a low-pressure area could cause more rain than expected in the upper part of the northeastern region until tomorrow, reported Bangkok Post.

Eastern provinces such as Chon Buri, Rayong, Chanthaburi, and Trat, along with Andaman coast provinces like Ranong, Phangnga, Phuket and Krabi, are expected to experience very heavy rainfall.

A monsoon trough moving up to the lower part of the northern region from September 30 to October 6 will cause nationwide downpours. Residents are being advised to prepare for potential flash floods

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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