BANGKOK, Jan 26 – Thailand’s central government on Thursday concluded agreements with the capital’s authorities, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), on future flood prevention preparations and responses.
Science and Technology Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi spoke after a meeting assigned by Prime Minister Yingluck but chaired by Deputy Prime Minister/Interior Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit on how to boost the efficiency of water management in the capital and the surrounding region.
The agreements comprise a Bt1.9 billion budget, already received, for the BMA (the Thai capital’s City Hall) to repair flood embankments along major canals, install water pushing machines to speed the evacuation of water, and pumps, and to improve the drainage system of the Phasi Charoen Canal in western Bangkok. It is also to allow military personnel or other agencies to dredge 29 major canals for more efficient drainage.
The Royal Thai Navy will build 100 more water diversion machinery installations, and with the Ministry of Science and Technology will act as consultants on permanent water equipment machinery installation in each province asking for help.
The army will dredge 300 smaller canals using a Bt770 million budget from the newly-established Strategic Committee for Water Resources Management (SCWRM).
The BMA will allocate its Bt24 million budget to build a warning system linked with the SCWRM system to build a consolidated warning system for the capital and the rest of the country. City Hall asked for water management to be done systematically and continually so the waterflow does not block, and eventually cause floods, in any particular area.
The meeting of the central government and the BMA agreed as well that water drainage through eastern Bangkok must succeed this year by dredging and linking canals.
The science and technology minister said the agreements will help assure Bangkok residents that there will not be floods in the capital, or if they do occur, for only a short period of time, while assuring investors that Bangkok’s economic centres and production sites will be fully protected.
City Hall will do as the agreements say, he said, noting that he will formally report the meeting’s decisions to the prime minister and the cabinet. Bangkok Deputy Governor Teerachon Manomaiphibul represented Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra, who was away on duty abroad.