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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     25 October  2011

Thai irrigation makes flood announcement

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In a live telecast, an Irrigation Department official admitted the problem of slow diversion of water to the east of Bangkok was due to the opposition of local residents who would be affected by rising water.

He said the Khlong 1 water gate has never been shut due to the opposition of the local residents from several housing estates in the area. This was the main reason for the water overflowing into Zear Rangsit and Don Mueang.

It is too late to shut the Khlong 1 water gate as the water has now overwhelmed Khlong 1.

Now that the government has implemented the Disaster Law, the Flood Relief Operations Centre (Froc) can authorize the Irrigation Department to control all the water gates with back-up from armed forces.

The Department can now operate other gates without facing opposition from residents as the officials will be accompanied by forces. All water pumps are fully employed to drain the excess water to various lower canals and eventually to the sea at Khlong Dan, Samut Prakan.

About 4 billion cubic meters of water are invading Bangkok North. But this does not mean that Bangkok will immediately go under with 1-2 meter-deep water. Water will come down slowly and in one day it may rise only 2-3 centimeters. It will take an entire month for this mass of water to be completely drained off to the sea via the Chao Phraya river (which can drain about 300 million cubic meters a day) and to the east and west of Bangkok from various diversion measures being implemented by the department and the BMA.

Another encouraging thought is that not all 4,000 million cubic metres will be drained off. Only 60-70 percent needs to be drained off while the rest will remain in low-lying areas to be gradually dried up.

If all is done according to plan, Bangkok will not see severe flooding, the official assured the public.

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