Pattaya mapping master plan for flood control

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Deluged by chronic flooding and the public complaints that stem from it, Pattaya officials have begun drafting a master plan to deal with water-drainage and flood-prevention issues.

Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome presided over the first of several planned public hearings into the plan Sept. 12 with Phanuwat Pinthong, head of the Center for Water Engineering and Infrastructure Research at King Mongkut’s University of Technology in Bangkok, which has been hired to study the cause and possible solutions.

Phanuwat Pinthong, head of the Center for Water Engineering and Infrastructure Research at King Mongkut’s University of Technology in Bangkok, has been hired to study the cause and possible solutions to Pattaya’s chronic flooding.Phanuwat Pinthong, head of the Center for Water Engineering and Infrastructure Research at King Mongkut’s University of Technology in Bangkok, has been hired to study the cause and possible solutions to Pattaya’s chronic flooding.

“With the difficulties faced by citizens in Pattaya, city hall is not sitting idle,” Itthiphol assured representatives from the city’s 41 neighborhoods who attended the city hall hearing. “We are working hard to solve the issues in various areas so these chronic issues do not recur.”

Phanuwat said three main factors contribute to Pattaya’s chronic flooding: an inadequate drainage system, geography and climate change.

Firstly, he said, many areas of the city are plagued by drainage pipes that are too small while other areas have no drainage systems at all. In other areas, natural canals designed to capture storm runoff have been polluted or blocked by private-property owners.

While area politicians can follow through on clearing blocked canals and laying wider pipelines, there’s not much that can be done about geography, Phanuwat said. Pattaya sits at a lower elevation than Nongprue, Huay Yai and Nong Plalai. Water naturally drains downhill and Pattaya is always going to be a flood plain for those communities.

Then there is the issue of climate change, which had led to higher tides in Pattaya Bay. This has most affected Naklua’s Yao Bridge, a natural conduit to the sea that once captured and removed storm runoff. But higher water levels have made the bridge area much less efficient, Phanuwat said.

Over coming months, Phanuwat’s group will be tasked with inspecting, designing, evaluating and planning a water-drainage system to prevent and solve flooding. The center will study appropriate measures to solve the issue, keeping in mind budgetary, environmental and public constraints, Itthiphol said.