Thanong in The Nation:

In spite of heavy storms this year, water levels in general have not been significantly worse than the great floods in 1995. More investigation is needed on water releases from the dams this year and in 1995. Water resources experts from Plamod Maiklad to Dr Smith Thammasaroj have asserted that floods could have been avoided. I was told that a Cabinet member spoke to irrigation and electricity officials not to release the water from dams, in spite of heavy downpours in September, so there would be enough water for farmers. “I shall assume sole responsibility for this,” he said.

The delay in releasing water from dams, particularly Bhumibol Dam, in the North has caused mayhem because the water has to be released en masse otherwise the dams would have been broken apart. This Cabinet member has not yet come out to assume any responsibility for his decision that caused unprecedented floods to so far destroy 10,000 factories and plunged millions of Thais into bankruptcy and homelessness. What was his motivation? Was it meant to coincide with 9/11?

BP: Interesting that Thanong asserts that a Cabinet Minister has responsibility, but BP finds it odd that he asserts this happened in September. Below is a slightly edited version of a previous post. You can check the below charts from the data here (need to click on the day and you get the data so it is day-by-day if you want to check). BP has only included the two major dams:

NOTE: Capacity % refers to the dam capacity; MCM refers to million cubic meters released per day. All figures are calculated as of the first of each month only. Unfortunately, BP doesn’t have the resources to calculate each day and then do an average of the month, but you can see the accumulated discharge of water counting from January 1 as per below which confirms how little water was discharged prior to the rainy season in 2011 to suddenly being discharged. Compare that with 2010.

Microsoft Excel

NOTE: Can only start from August in 2010 as data prior to that is not available.

BP: Between April 1-August 1, only 691 million cubic metres of water was released or an average of 138 million cubic metres a month. Between August 1 – September 1, 667 million cubic metres of water was released. From September 1-October 1, 784 million cubic metres of water was released. If you check what Dr. Smith was saying, he was talking about the discharge of water early in the rainy season – see here –  but as you can see this did not happen. So was water really not discharged in September after the intervention of a Cabinet Minister even though more water was discharged in September than the entire period of April 1-August 1?

NOTE: Capacity % refers to the dam capacity; MCM refers to million cubic meters released per day. All figures are calculated as of the first of each month only. For the full month’s discharge on an accumulated basis:

Microsoft Excel

BP: Between April 1-August 1, only 1297 million cubic metres of water was released or an average of 259 million cubic metres a month. Between August 1 – September 1, 171 million cubic metres of water was released. From September 1-October 1, 1,820 million cubic metres of water was released. As with the Bhumipol Dam, more was released at the Sirikit Dam between September 1-October 1 than between April 1-August 1 so was water really not discharged in September after the intervention of a Cabinet Minister? More interestingly, if a Cabinet Minister has responsibility/can intervene over release of water, did this happen before then?

If you check what Dr Smith was saying, he was talking about the discharge of water early in the rainy season – see here –  but as you can see this did not happen. You should discharge the water before it is flooded….

On rain, the above normal rain started in April/May for the North – see this New Mandala post – and you can see from overall rainfall throughout Thailand (of course, not all of this water goes into the dams in the North, but some of this water will be in the Central Region).