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Ayutthaya 'will be sumberged again'

Experts warn that blocking water will only submerge several provinces

Bangkok, Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi should not be affected too badly by floods this year because enough dykes and embankments have been built to protect them, though Ayutthaya will be under more than 3 metres of water, experts said yesterday.

This prediction was made by consulting company Team Group, which presented its findings at the "Knowing and Fighting against Flooding" seminar held yesterday at Bangkok's Emerald Hotel.

Team Group's managing director, Chawalit Chantararat, said a team of experts had used a model based on last year's volume of water in order to make this prediction. He said the team had discovered that many northern areas of Bangkok would be submerged, including sites around Rapeepat Rangsit and Prayoonrasak canals. In addition, Ayutthaya's Lat Bua Luang, Phak Hai, Bang Sai, Bang Lane, Bang Pla Mha, Sena, Bang Ban and Maha Rat districts will be affected as will Suphan Buri's Song Phi Nong district as well as Angthong's Pho Thong and Pa Moke districts. The flooding in these areas will up to 60 to 80centimetres deep, much higher than the level last year, while Ayutthaya's main town of Muang Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya will be under 3m of water.

Even though the rainfall will be less or the same as last year, water experts found that the level of flooding in some areas will be more than last year due to the many floodprevention measures taken to block runoffs to Bangkok, Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani. These floodprevention measures will divert floodwaters to other areas.

He added that areas in the east of Bangkok will be flooded this year such as the area between Khlong 13 canal and Nakhon Nayok's Ongkharak district as well as areas between Bangkok's Nong Chok district and Chachoengsao province's Bang Nam Prieo district. Other districts in Chachoengsao province will also be submerged as the government is planning to divert water to these areas.

Somchai Baimuang, deputy director of the Thai Meteorological Department, said the average rainfall since the start of this year was higher compared to the same period last year. However, he said, it was too early to say if the amount of rainfall this year will be higher than last year and that his agency would have to monitor the situation for another three months.

He added that he personally believes that flooding this year would be lower than last year because most of last year's flooding had been caused by heavy rainfall early in the rainy season. In addition, plenty of floodprevention measures have been taken to block the water flow, he said.

Pramote Maiklad, former irrigation chief and member of the Strategic Committee for Water Resources Management (SCWRM), said he was not confident about the government's floodprevention measures because very little progress has been made to construct embankments and other structures to prevent flooding.

"Just dredging canals across the upper and lower part of the North and Central regions will not stop the flooding," he said. Instead, he said, the government should construct floodways to divert floodwater to the sea instead of finding retention areas.


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