Proposal for 200km floodway

national November 15, 2011 00:00

By WANNAPA KHAOPA
THE NATION

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Chulalongkorn plan would take 3 years, stretch from Chai Nat to Samut Prakan



 

Chulalongkorn University yesterday unveiled an ambitious super-express floodway model and 10 other measures to prevent flooding from devastating the Central region.
“If the government decides to use this plan and it passes an environmental impact assessment, construction is expected to be completed within three years,” said Professor Thanawat Jarupongsakul, a lecturer at the Science Faculty’s Unit for Disaster and Land Information Studies. 
The main floodway would stretch for more than 200 kilometres from the Chai Nat-Pasak Canal in Chai Nat to Klong Dan in Samut Prakan, Thanawat told a press conference.
The floodway would have one-kilometre-wide buffers along each side and a bi-directional motorway six metres in height to prevent water from overflowing.
The buffers will be used to grow crops or house recreational parks before the rainy season comes, while the motorway will help with logistics.
Among the 11 proposed measures, particular attention was paid to collecting a direct flood tax from the owners of permanent structures located on natural floodways or in water-retention areas.
The tax rate for buildings in the zones, for example, would be 20 or 30 times higher than the rate elsewhere. The difference would be kept for future use as compensation for flood victims.
Also, the rapid expansion of urban areas in Bangkok’s neighbouring provinces should be halted, otherwise more people will be affected by floods, Thanawat said.
According to the plan, satellite towns should be developed in Ratchaburi, Saraburi, Chachoengsao and Suphan Buri, with express trains linking them to Bangkok.
“Early disaster warning systems should also be improved so that people in the highest-risk areas can prepare for evacuation. This won’t cause panic,” he said, adding that flood-risk maps should be an essential element of city planning.
“In the past, we’ve only used white papers, and policymakers have decided where to build roads.”
The government should control the use of groundwater in agricultural areas to prevent subsidence and should encourage farmers to raise plants or crops that can withstand extreme weather conditions, Thanawat said. 
Natural “monkey-cheek” reservoirs that can hold floodwaters should be preserved in accordance with people’s way of life in nearby communities, he said.
Laws should be amended to support disaster management and promote public participation, and an agency should be set up to battle disasters using hi-tech equipment based on research, according to the plan.
“I hope the government will consider our suggested measures and decide to put them in place soon. No one wants to experience any more disasters,” he said.
 

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