Author Topic: Riverside collapse warning as Chao Phraya dries out  (Read 796 times)

Offline Johnnie F.

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Riverside collapse warning as Chao Phraya dries out
« on: July 07, 2015, 12:10:54 PM »

Officials inspect a collapsed section of the embankment road next to the Khlong Phraya Banlue canal in Lat Bua Luang district of Ayutthaya on Monday. (Photo by Sunthorn Pongpao)

Riverfront roads nationwide are to be inspected for the risk of subsidence aggravated by the drought after some recently collapsed.

The inspection was ordered by Transport Minister Prajin Juntong. The Highways Department and Rural Roads Department are surveying roads along waterways nationwide. A special budget will be set aside for repairs and reinforcement of the roads prone to subsidence.

Some roads in Ayutthaya and Saraburi were closed in recent days after they developed large cracks, a result of fast-receding water which caused the soil underneath the roads to subside.

In Lat Bua Luang district of Ayutthaya, a road along Khlong Phraya Bunleu cracked in two places; one at tambon Samuang and the other at tambon Khlong Phraya Bunleu. The cracks are about 100-500 metres long and some 2 to 6 metres deep.

In Saraburi, a 200-metre road split was reported on a road along Khlong Rapeepat in Nong Khae district.

"[The road cracks] are one of the severe impacts of drought to hit the nation," ACM Prajin said.

Darun Saengchai, director-general of the Department of Rural Roads, said repairs are under way on the damaged roads. The work could take six to seven days and the roads would be re opened to traffic by next week.

He said specialists had been sent to inspect and repair roads along irrigation canals which show signs of damage in Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani and Saraburi.

Sarawut Songsiwilai, deputy director-general of the Department of Highways' road maintenance division, said inspections are speeding up so repairs can start right away.

The department supervises more than 60,000km of roads nationwide, although only 5% of the roads are prone to drought-aggravated subsidence.

Meanwhile, farmers in Suphan Buri have been forced to buy water for growing rice, according to Watcharin Kerd-im, a village chief in tambon Talingchan of Muang district. Some fields need the equivalent of 50 trucks of water, costing 1,200 baht each.

"Farmers cannot wait any more for the government's help as the paddy is producing grains," Mr Watcharin said.

The government is digging up more than 500 groundwater sources to help farmers in drought-stricken areas, mostly in the rice-belt area of the Central Plains.

Also, riverfront residents in Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani and Chai Nat are being told to prepare to evacuate their homes if the level of the Chao Phraya keeps receding, as this could trigger landslides.

As less water is released from the Chao Phraya dam upstream, the water in the river continues to drop, which could cause the river banks to collapse.

Chao Phraya dam director Ekkasit Sakthanaporn said the river fell by another 14cm in Chai Nat's Sapphaya district Monday. The river there is now 13 metres above sea level, which is below its critical point of 14 metres.

In the meantime, water in the Bhumibol dam in Tak has reached its lowest point in its 51 years of operation, according to dam director Nattawut Jaemjang.

"We no longer let out water for farmers as we have to keep what's left in reserve for consumption and maintaining the ecosystem'' he said. ''We have asked farmers to stop farming more crops and help save water."

Bangkok Post