Thailand needs efficient forecasts and in-depth analysis on flood cycles to implement new flood prevention measures, says the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
The country has done its best on water management under extreme circumstances, but efficient forecasting of flood cycles is important so that it can develop more effective flood prevention measures, said Hajime Taniguchi, a Jica official.
He said his agency is revising a detailed plan on flood management along the Chao Phraya River Basin. The revision will start next month and is expected to be complete in about 18 months.
It will also include a detailed study of the data from this year’s flood crisis. The plan, if completed, would hopefully determine some of the causes of the flooding this year and give suggestions on more effective measures to deal with future floods.
Jica previously worked with the Royal Irrigation Department to draw up plans on flood management along the Chao Phraya Biver Basin between 1996-1999. Its aim was to introduce measures to help the agricultural sector, which was hard hit by severe flooding in 1995.
A revision is now needed because of changes in land use from farming to residential and industrial areas. Jica, in cooperation with the Royal Irrigation Department and the Water Resources Department will revise the plan by including the new factors of city planning and industrial estate expansion, said Mr Taniguchi.
He said it is very important for Thailand to learn about flood cycles so that it can adopt appropriate countermeasures.
“Some say heavy flooding these days is a result of climate change. But I don’t think that is the major cause. We should rather focus on flood cycles, as different cycles will mean investment on preventive measures will differ,” Mr Taniguchi added.
For example, flooding in industrial estates along the Chao Phraya River Basin is expected every 10 years, so preventive measures should be developed based on this forecast.
Mr Taniguchi said that poor management with regard to releasing water from dams was a minor factor in this year’s floods.
However, he said, dam management in Thailand is different from that in Japan.
Dam construction in Thailand is mainly for irrigation and electricity generation purposes. But in Japan, it is mainly for flood management.
Jica said it would also begin drawing up short-term plans to deal with next year’s floods, which will include the construction of dykes and barriers to provide added protection for the country’s industrial estates.
“Thailand needs to take some action before the next rainy season comes,” he said.
The government has appointed Jica as an adviser on water resources management for future development.