High amplitude earthquakes in Asia are now frequently observed. The ground shaking could lead to damages or collapse of engineering structures such as dams. Dam breaking can result in large scale disasters at downstream communities. In addition, electricity shortage will affect the industrial and economic sector severely. Seismic detector is essential as monitoring tool of earthquakes to mitigate unnecessary damages and losses.
Since dam is a critical source of hydro-electricity generation in Thailand, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), dams operator, is now collaborating with NECTEC on a “ICT-based Real Time Monitoring and Management System for Dam Safety” project. NECTEC is installing a new automatic seismic monitoring system in 14 dams and surrounding areas. The new system is to replace the time-consuming and manually operated seismic data monitoring system that EGAT has used since 1998. The automatic operated seismic data monitoring system developed by NECTEC contains a seismometer that can detect the epicenter of the earthquake and the accelerograph that will record the earth shaking rate within 200 kilometers. This system will access if a dam can withstand the seismic activity. In normal practice, the seismometer will detect seismic activity of the ground hourly. Once the scale reaches 3 Richter, the system will transmit the data from all seismometers to the processing unit within 5-10 minutes. The processing unit will calculate the risk of dam breaking. This will allow EGAT to determine necessary actions for earthquake protection in time. The system is promisingly effective and building up trust among communities around the dam areas.