Government’s water discharges cause Ayutthaya flood: Agriculture Ministry

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BANGKOK, Feb 8 – Thailand’s Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry on Wednesday admitted that the current flood in Sena district of Ayutthaya resulted from intentional water discharges from two major dams further north.

Nikorn Chamnong, adviser to the agriculture and cooperatives minister, explained that the ongoing flood in Sena district was unusual.

He explained that it was caused by water discharge from the Bhumibol and Sirikit dams in Tak and Uttaradit as the two facilities began discharging water as planned by the Strategic Committee for Water Resources Management (SCWRM) to prevent possible flooding later in the rainy season.

According to the water resources management agency, the water storage levels of both dams were expected to be reduced to 45 per cent of their storage capacity on May 1.

However, overall Sena is not severely affected by the flooding, except for low-lying riverside areas where river water overflowed its banks, Mr Nikorn said. The relevant authorities have been ordered to closely monitor the situation and to remain on standby to help flood-stricken residents as the Bhumibol Dam will discharge 66 million cubic metres of water per day and Sirikit Dam will release 44 million cubic metres of water per day.

Last year, the country’s worst flooding in decades hit the central province of Ayutthaya, submerging historical sites as well as five industrial estates: Saha Rattana Nakhon, Bang Pa-in, Rojana, Hi-Tech and Factory Land.

The five estates are valued at about Bt200 billion in total investment capital and employ more than 200,000 workers.

In a related development, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was scheduled to inspect the provinces along the riverways on Feb 13-17 to follow up on the repair work of dams and sluice gates that were damaged by the flood last year.