New Bt5bn centre to predict flooding
The Water and Climate Informa-tion Centre opened yesterday with the key mission of predicting floods in the Chao Phraya River basin.The centre will collect and analyse all data related to water flow and flooding in the river basin from 12 relevant agencies, including the Royal Irrigation Department, Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry, Meteorological Depart-ment, Hydrographic Department, Marine Department, and Bangkok Drainage and Sewerage Depart-ment.
The centre will then analyse the data, which will be used by the Water and Flood Management Commission to help formulate a strategy for tackling water issues such as floods and droughts.
More than Bt1.9 billion of the government's Bt120-billion anti-flood budget has been used to set up the centre, located at Soi Rang-Nam. It will be run by the Science and Technology Ministry's Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute (HAII) and Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA).
"We will use all the data and information available to deliver forecasts for flooding in and beyond a 45-day window," said HAII director Royol Jitdon.
"As a result we should know the exact time and place that floods will hit and be able to deal with the situation immediately," he added.
Systems used to collect, analyse and manage the data include unmanned aerial drones, hydrographic survey boats, water-metre stations, closed-circuit TV, satellite images and automated sluice gates.
To date, over 600 water-metre stations have been installed in Bangkok and on main rivers across the country. The centre has already surveyed 5,600 kilometres of rivers in the capital and nearby cities for depth and conditions.
However, Royol said the centre's data system needed better technology to improve its capacity to forecast and estimate water- and climate-related crises.
He said the Bt5-billion centre was launched in a bid to create a single nationwide information resource for authorities and was part of the government's wider Bt350-billion water and flood management project.
Anond Snidvongs, GISTDA director, has raised his concern over the centre's security protection system, which he said might not be strong enough to withstand attacks from hackers. "We need time to improve the system," he said.