BANGKOK (dpa) – Thai authorities warned of flooding along the Mekong River amid reports a Chinese dam could release large amounts of water following heavy rains, an official said Monday.
The Jinghong Dam in China’s Yunnan province is nearing capacity, and was expected to release water, an official from the Chiang Rai Marine Office in north-eastern Thailand told dpa.
The office had sight of a message from Chinese authorities warning a Chinese vessel on the river than a release was likely and could affect navigation downstream, said the official, who asked not to be named.
If the dam did release significant amounts, there was a high possibility of more flooding in Thailand, said Nida Thongkam, of the forecast department of Bangkok’s meteorological department.
The dams are currently holding around 600 million cubic metres of water, The Nation daily reported, citing the Chiang Rai Marine Office. It was releasing 535 cubic metres per second, the report quoted Thailand’s Irrigation Department as saying.
“If the discharge from China’s Jinghong Dam reaches 8,000-9,000 cubic metres per second, the water level will increase by about three metres” in coming days, it quoted Songklod Duanghaklang, director of the Chiang Rai Marine Office, as saying.
Heavy monsoon rains have caused flooding in 27 Thai provinces this year, leaving nine people dead and affecting thousands, mostly in the north of the country. The Thai Meteorological Department warned over the weekend that storms were likely to continue.