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Reservoir leakage rumours spark fears in Pyay

A pillar marks the opening of the Weigyi reservoir in 2000. (PHOTO: DVB)

News that water was leaking from a reservoir in Pyay District, Pegu Division, caused panic among local villagers, prompting a number of families to lock up their homes and move elsewhere in the meantime.

On Tuesday, at least a dozen villages in Paungde Township were practically evacuated after news circulated that a landslide had caused water to leak from the 252,500-cubic-feet capacity reservoir known as Weigyi dam [not to be confused with the 5,000-megawatt Weigyi Dam on the Salween River].

Local villager Aung Win, who is from Themae village, the closest settlement to the reservoir, said, “I was in the paddy field last night when someone from my house called me to come back home. In the village, everybody was frightened and didn’t know where to go. We went to the reservoir and saw soil sliding down. Water was leaking under the wall.”

However, speaking to DVB yesterday, local Irrigation Department official Tun Tun Win said there was nothing to worry about.

“The dyke of the dam was eroded in October 2016 during rainy season when it had too much water. Reparations started on 3 January this year,” he said. “But some locals have been talking and getting afraid through hearsay. There is nothing to worry about. The water is stored securely. It is just that some of the land around the walls has slid. We are working on the site and will finish in five days.”

On Wednesday, volunteers from NGOs, police officers and local civil servants gathered at the site of the reservoir to help workers repairing the damaged wall.