By Jutharat Thipnampha
PM concerned about forecast for heavy rain; four monitoring sites
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday promised to call a halt to today’s flood drainage test in Bangkok within five minutes if something goes awry amid nagging concerns about overflows.
In the country’s first-ever such test, river water will be released in Bangkok’s west to examine and evaluate the efficiency of canals and pumps in carrying the surge away to the sea.
Royol Chitradon, director of the Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute (HAII) and a member of the National Water Resources and Flood Policy Committee, said all facilities including pumps, water pushing machines and water level metres were 90 per cent ready for the test. It will be conducted from 2pm to 6pm this afternoon.
In the test, seven cubic metres per second of water from the Thawee Wattana Water Gate will be discharged into Thawee Wattana Canal and coursed through Phasi Charoen Canal before flowing into Bang Waek and out through Phraya Ratchamontri Canal and the Tha Chin River.
The weak point in the western area is where Thawee Wattana Canal narrows near Phetkasem Soi 69 and the current slows from 45 cubic metres per second to 10 cu metres per second.
“We hope that everything goes well and we can collect complete information to make a water model that helps manage the flood and drought situation in the country. This is the first-ever test that we have done,” he said.
Four monitoring stations have been set up, including one at the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s Department of Drainage and Sewerage, where Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra will be in charge.
The BMA station is connected via a video link with the main station located at HAII.
The HAII station will also link with the two others, located at Phetkasem Soi 10/4 in the western area, and the Klong Song Sai Tai sluice gate in the eastern flank.
Sensors and CCTV cameras have been installed to measure the flow rate and water level in the canal.
“We will stop the drainage test immediately if the rainfall is over 30 millimetres per hour as we do not want to make any problems for people,” Royol said.
Yingluck was worried about the weather conditions today, as there could be heavy rain during the test.
She instructed the Interior Ministry and the National Water Resources and Flood Policy Committee to keep a close eye on the test and be prepared to end it within five minutes if needed.