North Korea is supposed to have discharged water from a dam near the border with the South on Wednesday without advance notification, the state water agency said.
The water level on the Pilseung Bridge near the border reached 5.8 meters as of 8:25 p.m. and is increasing by 25 centimeters every hour, officials at the Korea Water Resources Corp. said.
The bridge near the Imjin River, which flows from the North to the South crossing the Demilitarized Zone, serves as a gauge of North Korea's water discharge.
The water agency opened up 13 floodgates of the Gunnam Dam to control the water level, the officials said. The water in the dam, which went into operation last July to capture flash floods from the North, amounted to 28.22 meters as of 8:25 p.m., according to the officials.
The officials said the mark, which is below the flood indicative level of 40 meters, is the highest level ever recorded, surpassing the previous record of 26.6 meters that was touched late last month when North Korea made an unannounced dam water release.
"It seems that North Korea discharged water from the Hwanggang Dam as part of power generation efforts following recent heavy rains there," one official in charge of the local dam said. "We have not been notified of the water release," he said.
He said the Gunnam Dam still has room for further water storage, and no damage is expected due to the recent discharge from the North.
Hit by Typhoon Meari late in June, North Korea discharged water from the Hwanggang Dam on June 29 without notifying the South. The North opened the dam without prior notice in September 2009, leading to a flash flood that claimed six South Korean lives.
At a later inter-Korean meeting on flood control, North Korea agreed to give advance notice before future discharges. (Yonhap News)