Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Expert advises wider opening of Khlong Samwa sluice gate

The Nation

Khlong Samwa sluice gate can be opened wider, upto 1.5 metre, without causing damage to subsequent areas, said a water management expert.

Komsan Maleesee of King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang told Nation Channel that the water level at Saen Saeb Canal remains low and there is a gate in Min Buri to control the inflows. He noted that the water releases would also help ease the pressure on residents of Rangsit. The sluice gate at Khlong Samwa, if closed, could result in overflows and that would worsen the situation.

"The water (from Rangsit) is here and there is no other way to release the water from the area. It’s a matter of choice, whether you will manage it now or let it unmanageable," he said. "If things turn unmanageable, the damage would be beyond the ability of either the prime minister of the Bangkok governor to bear."

The gate is now open 1 metre wide, sparking fears that water could flood Bangchan Industrial Estate and Latkrabang Industrial Estate.

Deputy governor Theerachon Manomaiphiboon said that the entire city would be flooded if the Khlong Samwa sluice gate is open. He now enlisted 19 districts as flood-free zones.

However, deputy Science Minister Pornthep Tejapaibul said the diversion of water to the East of Bangkok would not affect the two industrial estates. "The situation remains controllable," he said.

The gate was opened that wide following strong pressure from local residents in the district. Some residents also destroyed the earthen sides of the sluice gate and so far they have barred any from fixing them.

This evening, Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra said in his daily press conference that he would exercise the law, which empowered him to order police to ensure smoothness in fixing "the gate". "If the gate remains unfixed, it could collapse and this could lead to severe flooding in Ramkhamhaeng and Ram Indra areas," he said.

Bangkok also told residents in Bang Khen, Senanives Estate in Lat Phrao, and East Samwa to evacuate. Residents in other areas of Khlong Samwa and Nong Chok should also be on alert.
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