The Kaeng Suea Ten Dam project has been highly controversial. Faced with decades of protest from people and environmentalists, the project was shelved but never really abandoned.
Every time floods hit Sukhothai and other downstream provinces, government figures blow the dust off this project, saying that the Yom River is in need of a dam.
Plodprasob yesterday reckoned that he expected strong opposition. “But I will fight for Sukhothai people. I will explain to the opponents the need to construct this dam,” he said.
According to Sukhothai Governor Jakkarin Plianwong, floods have affected the lives of 21,150 people and ravaged more than 100,000 rai of farmland in Sukhothai this year.
The Yom River also overflowed in the nearby province of Phitsanulok, sending flood water into riverside homes and farmlands.
In Bang Rakam district, many families were forced to camp out on the curb of Phitsanulok-Bang Rakam Road that was on higher ground when compared to their villages. In Phichit, another downstream province, the flood water level was so high that locals in Ban Noen Salika in Sam Ngam district decided to stay put at home. The only way to go around was by boat, and for those unfamiliar with such means of transportation, there was a risk of accidents.
These three provinces in the Yom River basin are among 13 provinces recognised as “flood disaster-hit zones” by the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, which yesterday concluded that the disaster had affected 177,496 people.
In the eastern region, flood water subsided in Sa Kaeo’s economic zone. Vendors started cleaning their stalls in Aranyaprathet Market. Last week, they had to run their business from another location instead as flood water swamped the town.
Meanwhile, Deputy Bangkok Governor Teerachon Manomaiphibul said the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is considering a plan up to upgrade the capital’s water-drainage system.
The system can presently deal with up to 60 millimetres of rainfall each day. However, in the wake of recent downpours, many Bangkok roads were under flood water and big questions emerged as to whether the system was really efficient.
“We have now thought about upgrading it to ensure that it can deal with up to 100 millimetres of rainfall per day, but that will require a lot of money,” Teerachon said without disclosing the figure needed.