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Royal Development Projects:
The Monkey Cheek

The Kaem Ling Project at
“Khlong Mahachai–Khlong Sanamchai ”
in Samut Sakhon Province, Thailand
3 October 1987   His Majesty the King accompanied by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, working with a map during a visit to Ban khok Kuwae Project under the Royal initiation of His Majesty the King at Ban khok Kuwae, Tak Bai District, Narathiwat Province.
25 May 2002: His Majesty the King granting an audience, at Piamsuk Villa of Klai Kangwol Palace, Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, to the Honorable William Jefferson Clinton, Former President of the United States of America, on the occasion of his Official Visit to Thailand as a guest of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

During his annual birthday speech on December 4, 1995, His Majesty was talking about the flood problem facing Bangkok residents and those live in the central plains of Thailand.
“…When I was five years old, we had monkeys and we gave them bananas. They would munch, munch, munch, and then kept the food in their cheeks … He was recalling the origin of his “Monkey Cheek Project”. He was only five years old when he noted how the monkeys munched and stored their food in their cheeks. More than seven decades later, the ‘Monkey Cheeks’ are helping to keep the capital from inundation as they serve as retention areas to keep flood water.
The Kaem Ling Project (or Monkey Cheek Project) is the Royal Development Project to solve flooding problems in Bangkok and metropolitan areas. Canals excavated along the coastal areas both in the west and the east of the Chao Phraya River serve as big storage reservoirs or Kaem Lings (Monkey Cheeks), draining flood waters by natural means – through gravity or tidal flow.

The drainage system works as water from the upper canal flows down southwards to a large storage canal near the seashore. When the sea level is lower (than the water level in the canal), the water in the canal is drained through a regulator by gravity and pumped out in order to let the water in the canal be at the lowest possible level. This helps keep the water from the upper canal flowing into the storage canal. On the When the sea level rises above the water level in the canal, the water gate is closed in order not to let water flow back in.

The Kaem Ling Projects have now been extended to other flood-prone provinces, including Samut Sakhon, a province close to Bangkok, and Chumphon and Hat Yai, Songkhla, in the South.

Apart from the Monkey Cheek and the canal construction work, there have been other royal initiatives to prevent floods and alleviate damages to communities and cultivation throughout the Kingdom.

Methods are varied according to each province’s geographical condition, but all of them are required to have zero impact on the environment. All of them basically consist of dam, dike, weir and drainage construction work.

One of the large scale storage dams initiated by His Majesty that has been proved to efficiently solve and alleviate flood problem is the Mae Ngat Dam which
was constructed across Mae Ngat stream at Mae Taeng District, Chiang Mai Province with the storage capacity of approximately 265 million cubic metres (mcm.)

Though this dam is mainly used for irrigation, it can also alleviate the flood which threatens cultivated areas on the banks of the Mae Ngat stream and Mae Ping River down to Chiang Mai.

In Lop Buri province in the central plains, there is Pasak Jolasid storage dam constructed across the Pasak River, which has a storage capacity of approximately 785 mcm. Completed in 1997, the dam serves as a water resource for irrigation while preventing flood in the adjacent provinces of Saraburi and Ayutthaya.


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