Flood prevention: Big money construction projects?
Read a previous Bangkok Post article written during the floods by Sanitsuda Ekachai that suggests (like today’s article) that Bangkok’s ancient network of canals should be put to better use in flood disaster planning and recovery, see article here.
Analysts blasted the government’s water management plan, saying it focuses too much on construction and not enough on area management and non-structural flood control schemes.
Thongchai Roachanakanan, an analyst at the Department of Public Works and Town & Country Planning, said communities, farmers and factories are reluctant to allow their areas to be used as floodways.
Floodways, he said, have been set up since 1992 but have been overlooked. Now hundreds of housing development projects are located on the floodways.
“My main job now is trying to find a secondary floodway that is smaller and shorter but can be used to link existing natural canals. So far we have found three or four secondary floodways,” said Dr Thongchai at a seminar held by the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) on floodways.
Dr Thongchai said he has found many areas suitable for monkey cheeks – or water retention areas – but they are owned by politicians.
“The country’s policy is based primarily on politics and focuses on urgent large-scale projects,” he said.
Thanawat Jarupongsakul, a lecturer at the Unit for Disaster and Land Information Studies at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Science, proposed a super-express floodway.
The proposed floodway would have a storage capacity of 2 million cubic metres and drainage capacity of 500 million cu/m per day.
He said 90% of the government’s 350-billion-baht loan for water management programmes is dedicated to construction rather than to the management of flood-affected areas.
“The plan by the SCWRM [Strategic Committee for Water Resources Management] unbelievably lacks an understanding of the nature of floods. Dykes surrounding industrial estates, for instance, are like the Great Wall of China. You’re stuck in a prison. The plan needs a combination of both structural and non-structural processes,” he said.
Seri Suprathit, water analyst and director of the Energy for Environment Centre at the Sirindhorn International Environmental Park, said the government needs to forecast what will happen if floodways are built and if the water level is the same as last year.
“Don’t set your hopes too high as the SCWRM has not yet done cost-benefit analyses for some projects,” he said.
“The public needs to keep a close watch on the development of the plan,” said Dr Seri.
(Source: Bangkok Post, DISASTER PLANNING, Analysts savage flood plan, 27/04/2012, Nanchanok Wongsamuth, link)
Flood Disaster Recovery Planning Vocabulary
canal – a man-made waterway, channel through which water flows (See Wikipedia)
ancient canals – very old canals
network of canals – many canals connected together
Bangkok’s ancient canals
Bangkok’s ancient network of canals
dredge – remove dirt from the bottom of a waterway (or body of water such as a harbour) (See Wikipedia)
dredge a canal