Take the bend out of the Chao Phraya

your say November 06, 2011 00:00

Year after year, a riverbed (the bottom of a river) slowly rises due to silt, sediment and debris and each cubic metre of those accumulations displaces an equal quantity of water, thus restricting the flow of the river and causing the river to eventually


Theoretically, any river could thus fill itself in and turn the surrounding area into a swamp.
There are also small mountain ridges that sometimes form across a riverbed, also slowing down the river and displacing water.
There are some questions to be asked.
Has there been a recent survey of the Chao Phraya riverbed in every part to determine its depth relative to average or normal water level? This is easy to do today with sonar and other existing technology.
The circular part of the river passing Klong Toei would be a natural place for silt and sediment to accumulate as the river flow is slowed at the beginning of that circular route, and rivers fill in at such points.
Currently, that is the “choking point” of the Chao Phraya River and that point will someday be at the critical, crisis level. Is this inevitability being addressed? Is anything about the riverbed being addressed?
A water tunnel less than one kilometre long at the “hairpin turn” or “switchback” in the Chao Phraya River west of Klong Toei would straighten the river flow and would increase the flow of the river substantially.
The curvature of the river there impedes the flow of the river and I have been told that the riverbed in the curvature is much higher than the riverbed north of the curvature – which, if true, would also impede the flow even more.
By partially bypassing the curvature in the river and by having a straighter course to follow, the river would empty faster – and basic, existing technology could increase the flow even more.
Such a water tunnel could be built in less than one year, and additional tunnels could be built as needed.
Locks or water gates on the tunnel or tunnels would also be helpful, but perhaps not necessary.
The riverbed of the Chao Phraya is screaming for help and we are apparently ignoring it.
Guy Baker

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