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Expert urges channel to drain water from Chao Phraya River

A water expert has called on the government to build another major flood-diversion channel as quickly as possible in order to drain a large amount of water from the Chao Phraya River into the sea.

The government should spend about Bt200 billion to build a 258-kilometre-long, 160-metre-wide channel that would pass through Chai Nat, Lop Buri, Saraburi, Nakhon Nayok and Samut Prakan provinces, Thailand Water Resources Association (TWRA) president Apichart Anukulamphai said yesterday.

The project is aimed at lowering the amount of run-off from the Chao Phraya itself and reducing the impact of flooding in the lower Chao Phraya region.

Apichart presented the project at the "The Water and Flood Management Model, Flood Diversion Conceptual Framework, and Analysis to reduce the impact from 2012 flooding" seminar, organised by the TWRA and the Metropolitan Waterworks Authority.

Last year, more than more than 5,300 cubic metres of floodwater per second flowed into the Chao Phraya, whereas the river had the capacity to carry only 3,500 cubic metres per second.

If the government went ahead with the project proposed by the association, the new flood-diversion channel in the eastern Chao Phraya could redirect about 1,500 cubic metres of water per second to the sea, while another 300 cubic metres per second would drain into the western Chao Phraya via the Makham Thao-U-Thong canal and the Tha Chin River, he said.

The new channel would run from Ta Nam Oi in Nakhon Sawan through the Manorom watergate, Chai Nat's Pasak Canal and then the Phra Ong Chaochaiyanuchit Canal before emptying into the Gulf of Thailand in Samut Prakan province.

However, Apichart said the project had been proposed to the government several times before, but there had been no response from the authorities.



WATER PANEL'S PLANS

Meanwhile, Hydro and Agro Infomatics Institute director Royol Chitdon, who sits on a Water and Flood Management Committee sub-panel, said the committee has developed a plan to reduce the impact of flooding in Bangkok caused by run-off water from the North

Under the plan, 20 million cubic metres of water per second would be diverted from the Chao Phraya to the eastern area, via the Bang Pa Kong river, onwards to the Pra Ong Chaochaiyanuchit canal and then into the sea.

Royol said the committee would use the Rapeepat Canal to drain about 60 cubic metres of water per second. The canal has a maximum capacity to carry about 200 cubic metres per second.

The committee also has an alternative option to use Bangkok's artificial waterways, starting with the Hok, Saen Saeb, Phra Khanong and Samrong canals, which are able to drain about 20 million cubic metres per second into the sea.

However, it will not use this option if there is heavy rainfall in the city, he added.

For western Bangkok, the committee will drain about 200 million cubic metres of water per second into the Tha Chin. Some water will also be discharged into the Prapimon and Prayabanlue canals.

Meanwhile, Deputy Transport Minister Chatchart Sithipan said the ministry was erecting a temporary embankment surrounding Bangkok to prevent the capital from flooding.

Construction is scheduled to be complete by the end of the month, with about 20 per cent of the work having been done to date, he said.




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