Flood prevention: Running out of time

Delays dredging canals & irrigation repairs, public hearings on farmer compensation for water retention, all make 3 month deadline difficult.

boats during floods

Photo above of one of the boats needed to get around vast areas of flooded northern Bangkok for many months late last year. Photo below of dredging dirt from the bottom of the water to make the water deeper (Source: Wikipedia).

Click button to listen to Flood Preparations: Part 1 to download

Flood projects won't finish before rains

Budget problems delay launch of prevention plans
Apinya Wipatayotin

flood prep infographicState agencies are running out of time to complete short-term flood prevention plans before the arrival of the rainy season in three months.

Niwatchai Khampee, deputy chief of the Department of Water Resources, admitted some projects should have started late last year but have been delayed because of budget problems.

The current budget which was recently approved in parliament has not yet been declared in the Royal Gazette, which means the government cannot use Treasury money to fund the projects.

The government has allocated 10.7 billion baht for 581 projects under its short-term plan to prevent flooding.

Most of the projects involve dredging canals, rivers and ponds, repairing irrigation networks and sluice gates, and raising road surfaces so they can also serve as flood barriers.

"We now hope we can start working early next month. If everything goes as planned, we may be able to complete the works within the three-month deadline given by the government," he said.

The Department of Water Resources is responsible for flood prevention work for rivers and canals in western Bangkok.

That includes Klong Bang Sai, Klong Bodhi, Klong Kwai, Klong Khun Si Burirat, Klong Bang Ku Wieang and Klong Soi. The dredging of 23 canals which pass through Bangkok will be carried out by City Hall.

Mr Niwatchai admitted his agency is having problems dredging the six Bangkok canals under its responsibility.

He said land along the canals is fully occupied and he has yet to figure out how to bring heavy machinery into the areas and how to bring waste out.

And the water level in the canals is still high as a result of new discharge from the major dams in the north.

The water volume at Bhumibol dam in Tak was still 7 billion cubic metres as of Feb 16, or 52% of its full capacity. The water volume at Sirikit dam in Uttaradit was recorded at 6.7 billion cubic metres, or 65% of its capacity. The government has instructed the two dams to lower the water storage to 45% of their capacity by the end of April.

There has been concern that unusually high rainfall since early this year might cause a recurrence of widespread flooding.

dredgingThe Meteorological Department predicted this year's average rainfall will be about 20% higher than that of the country's 30-year average.

It attributed the unusual rain to the La Nina phenomenon which still exerts an influence over the country, and the collision of the high pressure wedge from India and China and the low pressure trough from the South China Sea over the Central Plains.

Last year's historic flood was caused by the same factors, the department said.

It added, however, that last year's rainfall during the same period was 40% above the 30-year average.

We have seen a higher volume of rainfall since January.
 
"The trend is likely to be the same for the hot season when we can see more rain and lower temperatures," said Somchai Baimoung, deputy chief of the Meteorological Department.

Meanwhile, the Department of Royal Irrigation has allocated more than 5 billion baht to fix and improve all irrigation systems under its remit.

Chalit Damrongsak, chief of the Royal Irrigation Department, said much work has already been done.

He said the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives will finally complete its plan for water retention zones by the end of this month and submit it to the Strategic Committee for Water Resources Management for consideration.

The plan covers zone location and compensation for people to be affected.

Some 1,800 square kilometres of land in the upper Chao Praya River and 1,739 square kilometres in the lower river will be slated for water retention zones.

Mr Chalit said local people living in Bang Ban in Ayutthaya province, which is one of eight water retention zones, have agreed with the government's plan. The group has demanded, however, they be allowed to grow two rice crops each year and that the government must generously compensate them for the use of their land. This would include state support to build new homes. Mr Chalit said public hearings would be needed in each locality since people's demands were different.

Padermsak Jarayadhand, director of Aquatic Resources Research Institute of Chulalongkorn University, said he was concerned about the government's flood prevention measures.

"The government uses money as the key factor to deal with the problem. They draw up the projects and inject the money into them. It is impossible for all the projects to be completed in three months. The government is spending the budget based more on its political motives than the country's benefits," he said.

This is the first report in a series concerning preparations for this year's rainy season.

(Source: Bangkok Post, Flood projects won't finish before rains, Budget problems delay launch of prevention plans, 20/02/2012, Apinya Wipatayotin, link

Flood Prevention Vocabulary

delay - to make something happen at a later time than originally planned or expected เลื่อน
launch - to start something เปิดโครงการ, เริ่มต้น, เริ่มทำ
delay launch - to make the start at a later time

prevention
- the act of preventing something, or things that people do in order to prevent something
prevention plans

Budget problems delay launch of prevention plans

running out of time - soon will have no more time to complete project

term - a period of time ช่วงเวลา
short-term - a short time in the future
short-term flood prevention plans

arrival - 1. reaching some time or place; 2. when someone reaches where they are going (arrives) ขาเข้า การเข้ามา
arrival of the rainy season in three months

State agencies are running out of time to complete short-term flood prevention plans before the arrival of the rainy season in three months.

deputy - a person who is given the power to do something instead of another person, or the person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation รอง, ตัวแทน,ผู้รักษาการแทน
deputy chief - assistant head or chief of an organization, government agency or department

admitted - say that "yes" something is true, when asked by someone

budget - the amounts of money that an organisation has available to spend on different things during a period งบประมาณ (See Wikipedia)
budget problems

Niwatchai Khampee, deputy chief of the Department of Water Resources, admitted some projects should have started late last year but have been delayed because of budget problems.

current - of the present time ปัจจุบัน
current budget

fund - to provide money for something ให้เงินทุน
fund the projects - provide money for projects

allocated - given for a special purpose or use

The current budget which was recently approved in parliament has not yet been declared in the Royal Gazette, which means the government cannot use Treasury money to fund the projects. The government has allocated 10.7 billion baht for 581 projects under its short-term plan to prevent flooding.

dredging canals - removing dirt from canal (See Wikipedia)

irrigation
- the process of bringing water to land through a system of pipes, ditches, etc. in order to make crops grow ระบบชลประทาน การชลประทาน (See Wikipedia)
irrigation networks
 
sluice gates -
gates that control the flow of water between areas (so important in determining who will be flooded and who will not be flooded)
flood barriers - flood walls, walls that prevent water from passing from one area to another

Most of the projects involve dredging canals, rivers and ponds, repairing irrigation networks and sluice gates, and raising road surfaces so they can also serve as flood barriers.

goes as planned - the project happened as planned (goals achieved)
deadline - a time or day by which something must be done เส้นตาย
complete within the deadline - finish before deadline

"We now hope we can start working early next month. If everything goes as planned, we may be able to complete the works within the three-month deadline given by the government," he said.

carried out - done

The Department of Water Resources is responsible for flood prevention work for rivers and canals in western Bangkok. That includes Klong Bang Sai, Klong Bodhi, Klong Kwai, Klong Khun Si Burirat, Klong Bang Ku Wieang and Klong Soi. The dredging of 23 canals which pass through Bangkok will be carried out by City Hall.

responsibility - having to take care of some task as part of your job
under its responsibility

fully occupied - full, no more room
figure out how to - solve the problem of

Mr Niwatchai admitted his agency is having problems dredging the six Bangkok canals under its responsibility. He said land along the canals is fully occupied and he has yet to figure out how to bring heavy machinery into the areas and how to bring waste out.

discharge - to send out a substance, especially liquid or gas ปล่อยออก, ขับออก
volume - the quantity or amount of something

capacity
- the total amount that can be contained ปริมาณสูงสุดที่จะรับได้
full capacity - the container is "full", the highest amount that can be contained is contained

storage
- the putting and keeping of things in a special place for use in the future การเก็บ

And the water level in the canals is still high as a result of new discharge from the major dams in the north. The water volume at Bhumibol dam in Tak was still 7 billion cubic metres as of Feb 16, or 52% of its full capacity. The water volume at Sirikit dam in Uttaradit was recorded at 6.7 billion cubic metres, or 65% of its capacity. The government has instructed the two dams to lower the water storage to 45% of their capacity by the end of April.

concern - a worry ความกังวล

recurrence - when an event happens again การเกิดขึ้นอีก,การกลับมาอีก
widespread - happening or existing in many places, or affecting many people อย่างแพร่หลาย
widespread flooding
a recurrence of widespread flooding

predicted - when an expert tells people what he or she thinks will happen in the future
predicted this year's average rainfall will be about 20% higher

meteorology (noun) - the science of the weather and climate; explaining the weather and predicting future weather (See Wikipedia)
meteorological (adjective)  

There has been concern that unusually high rainfall since early this year might cause a recurrence of widespread flooding. The Meteorological Department predicted this year's average rainfall will be about 20% higher than that of the country's 30-year average.

phenomenon - something that exists and can be seen, felt, tasted, etc., especially something which is unusual or interesting ปรากฏการณ์
collision - two or more objects hitting each other การชนกัน

La Nina phenomenon - a weather pattern over large parts of the world's oceans, seas and land; the massive 2010 Pakistan floods were attributed to La Niña (See Wikipedia)

attribute X to Y -
find Y to be cause of X 
attributed the unusual rain to the La Nina phenomenon

influence - to affect or change how someone or something develops, behaves or thinks มีอิทธิพลต่อ, ชักจูง อำนาจบังคับ

pressure
- a force causing change (here: atmospheric pressure, See Wikipedia)
exerts an influence over the country
high pressure wedge - (See Wikipedia)
low pressure trough - (See Wikipedia)

It attributed the unusual rain to the La Nina phenomenon which still exerts an influence over the country, and the collision of the high pressure wedge from India and China and the low pressure trough from the South China Sea over the Central Plains.

factors - one of the things that effects a situation or event ปัจจัย
trend - a gradual change or development that produces a particular result ทิศทาง แนวโน้ม

Last year's historic flood was caused by the same factors, the department said. It added, however, that last year's rainfall during the same period was 40% above the 30-year average. We have seen a higher volume of rainfall since January. The trend is likely to be the same for the hot season when we can see more rain and lower temperatures," said Somchai Baimoung, deputy chief of the Meteorological Department.

fix - repair
improve - to make better ทำให้ดีขึ้น

remit - the activity which a particular person or group has authority, control or influence over 
under its remit - an activity that it controls

Meanwhile, the Department of Royal Irrigation has allocated more than 5 billion baht to fix and improve all irrigation systems under its remit. Chalit Damrongsak, chief of the Royal Irrigation Department, said much work has already been done.

submit - to formally give something to someone so that can make a decision about it ยื่น (เอกสาร) เพื่อการพิจารณา  ยื่น เสนอ (เอกสาร) ให้พิจารณา
consideration - giving careful thought to something before making a decision; to go over details before deciding to do a project
submit for consideration - to formally give something such as a "project plan" to someone to make a decision about it (decision to do or not to do the project)

He said the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives will finally complete its plan for water retention zones by the end of this month and submit it to the Strategic Committee for Water Resources Management for consideration.

zone - area
compensation - money that someone receives because something bad has happened to them เงินชดเชย การจ่า่ยเงินชดเชย

slated for -
to be used for
X slated for Y -
X to be used for purpose Y

retention - keeping in a place (not allowing to leave the place)
water retention - keeping water in a place (not allowing water to leave)
water retention zones

The plan covers zone location and compensation for people to be affected. Some 1,800 square kilometres of land in the upper Chao Praya River and 1,739 square kilometres in the lower river will be slated for water retention zones.

local - in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about ท้องถิ่น
local people - people who live in some local area

compensate
- pay for a loss or damage; pay money to someone after they have been harmed or damaged by a bad event
generously compensate - pay someone a lot of money for some loss or damage they received

state
- government รัฐ
support - help, by giving money, for example สนับสนุน
state support - money given by the government to help in some activity

hearings
- an official meeting to collect facts about a situation or problem
public hearings - hearings that the public can go to (participate in) and listen to, including media

demands
- the things that someone is asking you to do
peoples' demands - things that people are asking you to do (requests)

Mr Chalit said local people living in Bang Ban in Ayutthaya province, which is one of eight water retention zones, have agreed with the government's plan. The group has demanded, however, they be allowed to grow two rice crops each year and that the government must generously compensate them for the use of their land. This would include state support to build new homes. Mr Chalit said public hearings would be needed in each locality since people's demands were different.

concerned - worried about something มีความกังวล

measures - actions taken to deal with a problem มาตราการ
flood prevention measures

Padermsak Jarayadhand, director of Aquatic Resources Research and Institute of Chulalongkorn University, said he was concerned about the government's flood prevention measures.

key - important คนสำคัญ
factor - a fact or situation which influences the result of something ปัจจัย
key factor - the most important thing in the result or outcome of something

draw up projects -
make plans for projects

inject - put into; to introduce something new that is necessary or helpful to a situation or process ฉีด
inject money into projects

motives - the reason for doing something (taking an action)
political motives - reasons in politics for doing something (impress people, win votes, get elected to office)

benefits - goods things that can happen from an activity ผลประโยชน์
the country's benefits - good things that a country gets from an activity

"The government uses money as the key factor to deal with the problem. They draw up the projects and inject the money into them. It is impossible for all the projects to be completed in three months. The government is spending the budget based more on its political motives than the country's benefits," he said.

About the author

columnist
Writer: Jon Fernquest
Position: Online Writer