Authorities divert water in effort to prevent Bangkok flooding

politics October 11, 2016 01:00

By THE NATION

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER General Prawit Wongsuwan said yesterday authorities would try to divert water runoff and floodwater to minimise the impact on Bangkok.



The amount of water from the Chao Phraya River passing through the Rama 6 dam was 2,000 cubic metres per second yesterday, with flooding in Bangkok expected if the volume reaches 3,000 cubic metres per second.
Prawit said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had instructed relevant agencies to tackle the flooding issue through allocating budgets, water diversion and storing strategies, and the “monkey cheek” water-retention method in some areas. He admitted that the amount of water was excessive at the Pasak Jolasid and Ram 6 dams, with the amount of water released at the latter at about 2,000 cubic metres per second, inundating downstream Ayutthaya province. 
“In the past, this [scenario] would have already caused flooding in all areas but we are trying to divert and distribute runoff to all places so as to minimise impacts on Bangkok,” he |said.
As stretches of the Chao Phraya River have overflowed, Prawit said officials from the Royal Irrigation Department, the Agriculture Ministry and the Interior Ministry were overseeing the situation and aiding affected residents. The Defence Ministry was also aiding flood-affected people, he added. Lop Buri’s Pasak Jolasid Dam was at 95 per cent of its capacity yesterday after receiving 59 million cubic metres of water per day. As a result, water was being released at 700 cubic metres per second, or 60 million cubic metres a day, since Sunday.
 
Crops threatened
Downstream Tambon Kaeng Sua Ten residents in Lop Buri’s Phattana Nikhom district have been moving belongings to higher ground, as floods have hit the municipality’s pump station while those living in 30 riverside homes in Ban Moo 11, which is deemed most at risk, were told to prepare for evacuation. 
In Phichit’s Sam Ngam district, farmers set up 10 water pumps to drain 300 rai (48 hectares) of flooded rice fields to try to save their crops. The effort comes as the area was hit by heavy rain while the Yom River caused connecting canals to overflow.
In Pathum Thani province, Governor Surachai Khan-asa led officials to inspect the Chulalongkorn sluice gate yesterday, where six Flow Thruster Ships were being used to drain Klong Rangsit Prayoonsak into the Chao Phraya River to prevent flooding in Klong Luang district. 
The draining of the canal, which had been filled with stagnant polluted water, was in line the government’s “Beautiful canals for Thais’ happiness” policy, according to officials.