Water discharged from Lao dams pushes up water level in Mekong

Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute and other water-related agencies have expressed concern that the increased discharge of water from Nam Ngum 5 dam in Laos will accelerate rising water in the Mekong river which may worsen flooding in northeastern provinces along the river.

 

The Nam Ngum 5 Company which operates the dam on Sunday notified Lao authorities in Phu Khun and Phu Khud townships to warn their people living downstream of the dam of the company’s decision to release more water out of the dam starting on Monday so there will be more room to store water from the monsoon rains during the rainy season.

HAII has predicted that water discharged from the dam will increase the water level in the Mekong river from Bung Karn province downward to Nakhon Phanom and Ubon Ratchathani which are now encountering overflows from the river.

HAII said that, two days ago, more water was released from Nam Thern dam in Laos into Sebung Fai river and finally into Mekong river in That Phanom district of Nakhon Phanom.

In Muk Dahan province, the level of Mekong river was measured at 12.41 metres in front of the hydrological centre on Monday which is nine centimetres below the spillover point.

However, overflow from a tributary of the Mekong river, Huay Chae, has already flooded Don Mukda community in the municipal area of Muk Dahan and the underground floor of the Indochina market.

In Chiang Rai, overflow from Mekong river has inundated border crossing points in Chiang Khong and Wiang Kaen districts although the water level of the river was measured at 6.98 metres in front of Chiang Saeng district office against the 10-metre critical point.

Chiang Khong district chief Tassanai Suthapote summed an urgent meeting with community leaders on Monday to brace for imminent flooding of communities located along the river.

Heavy rains in Laos and the increased discharge of water from Jinhong dam in southern China were blamed for the steady increase of the level of Mekong river in Chiang Rai.

In Sakhon Nakhon province, the Nong Harn swamp which covers 72,000 rai has spilled over floodgates sending water to flood many houses in Pone Nakaew district. 

In Nakhon Phanom, the Mekong river is still 1.48 metres below the critical spillover point when measured on Monday in front of the municipal office.  However, overflow from a tributary, Lamnam Bung and Lumnam Gao, has swept into a village in Tambon Piman, Na Kae district, on Monday.  

The Meteorological Department on Monday forecast intense rains in northern, northeastern, central and eastern regions on Monday and Tuesday with heavy rains in some parts of the regions due to low pressure cell prevailing over the Tonkin Gulf and upper Vietnam.