Govt prom­ises no re­peat of 2011 flood

Bet­ter de­fences now in place, says of­fi­cial

Bangkok Post - - NATIONAL - POST RE­PORTERS

The gov­ern­ment yes­ter­day as­sured the pub­lic there will be no re­peat of 2011’s se­vere flood­ing, say­ing the vol­ume of ex­cess wa­ter is far less this year and that more ef­fec­tive flood-preven­tion mea­sures are in place.

On Wed­nes­day, the to­tal vol­ume of wa­ter in all the main dams in the North was recorded at 18.3 bil­lion cu­bic me­tres, while the to­tal vol­ume of wa­ter in the same dams recorded on Oct 11, 2011 was up to 24.4 bil­lion cu­bic me­tres, said Lt Gen Sansern Kaewkam­n­erd, gov­ern­ment spokesman.

The to­tal vol­ume of wa­ter in all main dams in the Cen­tral Plains was 1.2 bil­lion cu­bic me­tres, com­pared to the 1.3 bil­lion cu­bic me­tres of wa­ter in the same dams on Oct 11, 2011, he said.

As the north­ern run-off con­tin­ues to ar­rive in the Cen­tral Plains, the royal ir­ri­ga­tion au­thor­i­ties now need to re­lease more wa­ter from the dams but in a man­ner that will least af­fect the ar­eas along the rivers which serve as run-off paths, he said.

In his re­sponse to grow­ing con­cerns over pos­si­ble floods in 10 flood-prone dis­tricts of Bangkok, Lt Gen Sansern said the wa­ter-re­lease rate at the Bang Sai sluice gate, where the north­ern wa­ter en­ters Bangkok, is now kept at 2,200 cu­bic me­tres per sec­ond.

Dur­ing the 2011 floods, more than 4,000 cu­bic me­tres of wa­ter ran through the sluice gate per sec­ond, de­spite its max­i­mum wa­ter re­lease ca­pac­ity be­ing 3,500 cu­bic me­tres per sec­ond, he said.

“The prime min­is­ter has stressed to the In­te­rior Min­istry that the Depart­ment of Dis­as­ter Preven­tion and Mit­i­ga­tion, the mil­i­tary units and the lo­cal ad­min­is­tra­tive bod­ies have to speed up their flood-re­lief op­er­a­tions in the af­fected ar­eas,” the gov­ern­ment spokesman said.

In Ayut­thaya, pro­vin­cial gov­er­nor Su­jin Chaichum­sak said the prov­ince is im­ple­ment­ing flood-preven­tion mea­sures around the clock, in a bid to save the prov­ince’s old town ar­eas from fresh flood­ing.

Earthen dykes and flood walls made of sand­bags in the most flood-prone spots were be­ing for­ti­fied to keep up with the ris­ing wa­ter lev­els, said Mr Su­jin.

Evac­u­a­tions were be­ing car­ried out in low-ly­ing com­mu­ni­ties in six dis­tricts of Ayut­thaya as flood-re­lief sup­plies were be­ing trans­ported into the af­fected ar­eas, Mr Su­jin added.

Peo­ple liv­ing in or near seven fields cov­er­ing 600,000 rai des­ig­nated for flood re­ten­tion have been given prior in­for­ma­tion about flood drain­ing pro­ce­dures to pre­vent con­flicts that may erupt if these af­fected groups were ill-in­formed, he said.

In the north­ern prov­ince of Chai Nat, vil­lagers in three tam­bons of Sap­phaya dis­trict who have been af­fected by over­whelm­ing north­ern run-off floods lamented the poor com­mu­ni­ca­tions be­tween the af­fected res­i­dents and the royal ir­ri­ga­tion au­thor­i­ties re­spon­si­ble for re­leas­ing wa­ter from the dams.

They said the royal ir­ri­ga­tion au­thor­i­ties should have alerted them in ad­vance about the wa­ter dis­charge time and the ex­pected lev­els of ex­cess wa­ter.

More im­por­tantly, these vil­lagers begged ir­ri­ga­tion au­thor­i­ties not to dis­charge wa­ter at a rate in ex­cess of 2,600 cu­bic me­tres per sec­ond as this rate equates to the dis­charge level which caused the 2011 floods.

Aside from the North and the Cen­tral Plains, the ris­ing wa­ter vol­ume in the main dams in the North­east is also prompt­ing au­thor­i­ties to speed up their dis­charge of ex­cess wa­ter.

The royal ir­ri­ga­tion of­fice op­er­at­ing the Ubol Ratana Dam re­quested per­mis­sion from the Khon Kaen pro­vin­cial com­mit­tee on wa­ter man­age­ment to in­crease the dis­charge rate from 35-37 million cu­bic me­tres to 45-68 million cu­bic me­tres daily to cre­ate more space as the dam was at ca­pac­ity, Khon Kaen pro­vin­cial gov­er­nor Som­sak Jang­trakul said.

The wa­ter com­mit­tee yes­ter­day al­lowed the of­fice to dis­charge wa­ter from the dam at 45 million cu­bic me­tres per day.

Higher than that level, said Mr Som­sak, would trig­ger se­ri­ous floods in more than 150,000 rai of farm­land in three dis­tricts, he said.

CHUDET SIHAWONG

A com­mu­nity in Chai Nat’s Sap­phaya dis­trict is sub­merged af­ter the Chao Phraya bar­rage re­leased more wa­ter to make room for ad­di­tional rain­fall and run-off. Lo­cal res­i­dents say the flood­ing caught them off guard be­cause the au­thor­i­ties in­creased the wa­ter-re­lease rate with­out any warn­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Thailand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.