Saturday, October 22, 2011

Thailand dams, water management designed for older age - Bangkok Post:

The flood crisis reveals the country dams, canals and water management are things of the past

  • Floods crept in as close as Don Muang railway station, and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra urged Bangkok residents to spend the holiday weeking moving all their possessions and cars to higher ground. (Photo Patipat Janthong)

  • Published: 23/10/2011 at 12:00 clock
  • Newspaper section: News
Water infrastructure and management is based on the assumption of low rainfall have been developed, experts say.
In combination with the lack of coordination between water agencies, the result of a lack of ability to cope with the floods, they said.
Anond Snidvongs, Director of the Geoinformatics and Space Technology Development Agency, has determined that every 30 years, Thailand weather pattern changes between low and high rainfall.
In the last few years, he said, the climate pattern has shown signs of moving from a period of low rainfall to high rainfall phase.
In 2006, Thailand encountered caused severe flooding, the massive damage in several provinces, and this year the flood has returned.
It has not only intensified, but the average annual precipitation has also risen.
The amount of rainfall _ 2,000 mm _ has already exceeded the average annual rainfall, which stands at 1500mm per year.
Our water infrastructure and management are not using as much water to deal with, he said.
Large dams and canals were developed in the late 1980s to low rainfall or assumptions about 1,000 mm of rainfall on average.
"Over the past 15 years we have been in a low rainfall period, but the trend has now shifted," said Mr Anond. "However, our water infrastructure, largely based on the assumption that we have not developed a lot of water. So, if we have high water depends not only on rainfall, but also about how we treat and manage. "
During the dry season, the Royal Irrigation Department is working with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) to empty large dams nationwide, including in the north, so that they get the rain water during the rainy season.
An irrigation officials said she agreed to water, the pre-and post-season rice cultivation and consumption has been used in the late dry season discharge, and leave about 60% of dam capacity, to take the rain water. The rain water would be in the dams be saved for the next dry season.
However, rain came too early. Egat An official overseeing the operation said the North, it came as early as mid-May.
"Late last year, the dams were almost empty and we even make artificial rain needed in order to get enough water to fill our reservoirs," the official said.
End of June came Tropical Storm Haima in Vietnam and Thailand joined by Nan province.
A maximum rainfall of 335.2mm was recorded Pua in Nan District.
Three large dams in the North _ Sirikit began on Nan River, Khiew Lom on the Wang River, and on the Ping river Bhumibol _ to take large quantities of rain water.
By the end of July tropical storm brought Nock-Ten more water in the north.
The water level in the dams rose quickly, and requires some Sirikit dams as to discharge water.
But because Nan province and downstream areas have been flooded, Bhumibol employees were instructed not stored in the reservoir water release.
In August they took more water from the tropical monsoon climate and low pressure systems.
And at the end of September came Tropical Storm and Typhoon Hai Tang Nesat in Vietnam before coming to Thailand.
Until then, all large dams were full.
The largest dam, Bhumibol could not release water, even as 300 million cubic meters of water flowed into it every day.
Until earlier this month published Bhumibol 100 million cubic meters of water downstream in areas already flooded by rain.
This dam has only given up to 2,000 million cubic meters of water.
Downstream irrigation systems do not keep well when faced with such massive inflows of water.
In Nakhon Sawan, take water from the four rivers of the Chao Phraya to be.
From there, no barriers slow the flow of water into the river to Chai Nat, where the Chao Phraya Dam is located.
The dam is a run-off dam, ie, no water, but raises the water table, if necessary, or slows the flow.
However, when water flow exceeds 2800 cubic meters per second, the dam can no longer divert water or direct it to both sides of the river, where a system of canals away, in the regulation of the water.
Middle of September, water levels in the dam's capacity, which in the breaks of the river by levees.
As a result, the flooded water on the western and eastern lowlands of the river, make it difficult to regulate the overflow and run-off.
Interference by politicians delayed the release of water from the Chao Phraya Dam in the west of the river.
The government has struggled to massive flooding, which has accumulated up to 15,000 million cubic meters of water over the control of Bangkok.
As if all this were not enough, experts say the country also lacks adequate tsunami plan.
Kampanad Kampanad Bhaktikul Mahidol Faculty of Environmental and Resource Protection Studies, said the lack of timely flood warnings and the dependence of a system of sandbags flimsy to keep the water out, shows how poor Thailand's disaster response capacity of the systems really are.

SIGNS OF THE TIDES: An official keeps a watchful eye on the water level near the lock at the Khlong Rangsit Chulalongkorn.PHOTO: PATIPAT JANTHONG

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