February 22, 2014 00:00
By Jutarat Tipnumpa
To tackle the crisis of a massive amount of seawater in the Chao Phraya River that has led to salty tap water, a Water and Flood Management Commission sub-panel has adjusted the water-release plan and dispatched water-pushing boats.
A water-treatment system has been installed Siriraj Hospital to deal with the problem.
The sub-panel’s chairman, Royol Chitradon, who is also director of the Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute, said the seawater issue was worse than last year.
Seasonal inflows of seawater from Sunday to Tuesday would worsen the situation, he said.
The increased saltiness has affected hospitals in need of fresh water, hence the Metropolitan Waterworks Authority’s decisions to install an reverse-osmosis water-treatment station at Siriraj.
Water-pushing boats were also sent to the Prem Prachakorn and Lat Phrao canals to help add oxygen to the water.
To reduce the impact on the tap-water system, the opening of dam sluice gates needed to be in line with the seawater inflow level, Royol said.
He said that when sea tides rose, sluice gates would release more water, and when the tides dropped, the gates would narrow to release less water. This would help save water and solve the saltiness issue at the same time.
However, he said managing the problem remained tough, as water released from Chao Phraya Dam took seven days to reach Ayutthaya’s Bang Sai district.
Besides adjusting the dam’s sluice gates, the Royal Irrigation Department was using Lad Pho canal during a high-tide period.
Royol said the National Nanotechnology Centre would work with the Provincial Waterworks Authority to use a salt-water-treatment system to aid hospitals on the Bang Pakong River.
He said the release of water would also be adjusted at the Bang Pakong River’s Klong Siyad and Khun Dan dams, while the Tha Chin River would receive fresh water from the Mae Klong River via the waterworks canal.
Over the next two weeks, the sub-panel will discuss May’s water-management plan, the issue of low fresh water and other related issues.
Meanwhile, farmers in Phichit’s Pho Prathap Chang district have lamented the shortage of water. In the Ban Hak Rot area, the Yom River is almost dry. Farmers are worried they will lose crops.
In the face of an imminent drought, locals have stopped cultivating off-season paddy fields.