BANGKOK, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- High water levels behind some of Thailand's major dams could lead to disaster and a possible repeat of last year's catastrophic floods, experts say.
Disaster prevention experts and water management officials say they are concerned the delay in discharging water from the dams built up during this past monsoon season could set the stage for more flooding.
"This is definitely a worrying sign," National Disaster Warning Council Chairman Smith Dharmasaroja told the Bangkok Post Tuesday.
"Agencies in charge of dam operations must urgently release water from the dams to make sure there is enough room to receive new inflows during the approaching rainy season."
Thailand could experience high rainfall again this year due to the La Nina weather phenomenon, he said.
"We have to be prepared. Water storage levels in the major dams should be lowered to about 40 percent of their storage capacity," he said.
Some experts say mismanagement of water storage in major dams exacerbated last year's epic floods and that dam operators should have released the water before the rainy season arrived.
Water management officials agreed water levels in some dams were too high, but said discharging more water could affect residential and agricultural land downstream, particularly in provinces where floodwaters remain.