New storm-drainage could triple size of underground pipes

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Pattaya would nearly triple the width of drainage pipes underlying downtown streets under a new flood-drainage master plan being drafted by the city.

At an Oct. 28 meeting of city officials with the Center for Water Engineering and Infrastructure Research (CWEIR) at King Mongkut’s University of Technology in Bangkok, Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome said part of the plan being drafted by university consultants calls for water-drainage “tunnels” 2.3-3 meters wide running from second road to the sea. Current drainage pipes measure only 0.8-1.2 meters wide, he said.

Wirat Jeerasriphathun, director of the Pattaya Engineering Department.Wirat Jeerasriphathun, director of the Pattaya Engineering Department.

The pipe measurements are the first details to be released about the new storm-drainage master plan, which is not due to be completed by the CWEIR for another three months. If the city can obtain funding for the new system – and a price tag still has not been determined – work could begin before October.

“When the system is completed, Pattaya’s floods will gradually decrease and be permanently eradicated in the future,” the mayor pledged.

Last month’s hearing, the second of many expected to be convened, was mostly aimed at reviewing the damage caused during the just-completed rainy season. Wirat Jeerasriphathun, director of the Pattaya Engineering Department, reviewed the flooding problems caused in neighborhoods throughout the city to provide what the mayor called “raw data” for the academics’ study.

Itthiphol said the CWEIR study will look at flooding in two main areas of the city: Along Sukhumvit Road and its neighboring communities, and downtown from the Naklua Canal along Third Road, and Second Road and Soi Buakaow.

Pattaya already has 40 million baht in emergency flood-relief funds on hand, but the rest of the funding will have to come from at least two different agencies. That left audience members skeptical of Itthiphol’s claim that the entire new drainage system could be ready by next year’s rainy season.