Vientiane Times reports that villages along the nation’s main rivers have been warned to be alert for rising water levels following torrential rainfall in recent days, with people in low-lying areas advised to be prepared for floods.
The Meteorology and Hydrology Department says the Mekong, Ou, Ngum, Xan, Ngieb, Kading, Xe Bangfay, Xe Champhon, Xe Kong and Xe Don rivers are currently well below the official warning level but waters are expected to rise following more rainfall in the coming days.
According to an update issued by the department on August 17, the level of the Mekong River in Vientiane has risen to 9.41 metres, which is below the warning level of 11.50 metres and the danger level of 12.50 metres.
In Luang Prabang province, the Mekong has risen to 12.90 metres, where the warning level is 17.50 metres and the danger level is 18 metres. In Savannakhet province, the Mekong has risen to 5.81 metres, with a warning level of 12 metres and a danger level of 13 metres.
In Pakxe city, Champassak province, the Mekong now stands at 7.16 metres, where the warning level is 11 metres and the danger level is 12 metres. The Xong River in Vangvieng district, Vientiane province, is now 2.14 metres in depth, where the warning level is 3.50 metres and the danger level is 4.50 metres.
The level of the Ngum River in Vernkham village, Pakngum district, Vientiane, is now 5.62 metres, well below the warning level of 12 metres and the danger level of 13 metres.
In Borikhamxay province, the level of the Xan River is now 5.10 metres, also well below the warning level of 7 metres and a danger level of 8 metres. However, river levels are expected to increase after many dams discharge water due to full reservoirs, especially dams on the Mekong River.
The Ministry of Energy and Mines has informed people living alongside the Lik River that on August 18 the Nam Lik 1/2 hydroelectric dam plans to discharge water from the reservoir.
The water level in front of the dam is approaching the warning level, so the sluice gates must be opened to allow water to flow out and ease pressure on the dam wall.
The ministry has advised authorities in Vientiane province to instruct river-based tour companies to temporarily cancel tours and move equipment, especially boats, to safe areas.
The ministry has also instructed people living near the river to prepare for a possible emergency situation. More rain is expected across many parts of the country and everyone is advised to monitor weather forecasts issued by the Meteorology and Hydrology Department and take precautions if flooding seems likely.