Increased rainfall unlikely to cause 2011-like floods, says ONWR

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Image courtesy of KhaoSod

Increased rainfall expected in the coming weeks due to the La Nina phenomenon is unlikely to lead to a repeat of the devastating 2011 floods, according to the Office of the National Water Resources (ONWR).

ONWR Chief Surasee Kittimonthon confirmed that weather reports predicting less frequent rain this year suggest a low likelihood of major flooding similar to the 2011 disaster, which left vast areas of the central plains and north submerged for weeks.


The assurance follows forecasts indicating more rain will fall in the next few weeks as the La Nina weather pattern is anticipated to begin soon.

Surasee stated that the National Water Resources Committee (NWRC) has developed measures to mitigate the effects of increased precipitation to prevent floods as the rainy season peaks.

These measures, approved by the Cabinet on June 4, are being implemented by state agencies before the rainy season reaches its height.

On June 7, the NWRC also greenlit several projects aimed at enhancing the nation’s water management capabilities, particularly water retention capacity, to optimally utilise the increased rainfall over the coming months.

Water security

These projects aim not only to reduce the risk of flooding during the rainy season but also to store excess water for use during drier months, thus bolstering the nation’s overall water security.

Construction of these projects must be completed within 120 days of budget allocation, with some agencies beginning to receive funds on July 12.

Surasee noted that the ONWR has been working closely with the Meteorological Department of Thailand, and Hydro-Informatics Institute, to compare this year’s rainfall patterns with those seen in 2011. Rainfall was more frequent and intense at the start of the 2011 rainy season due to five major storms passing over the country within a few months.

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This year, however, authorities recorded below-average precipitation at the start of the rainy season, though rainfall is expected to increase with two storms forecasted to pass over the country later in the year.

Surasee said the government is better prepared to handle the situation now, highlighting efforts to streamline emergency plans and responses by reducing bureaucratic red tape.

“The efforts have helped to alleviate the impact of disasters, particularly in flood-prone river basins like the Chao Phraya, Mun, and Chi Rivers.

“In the event of a crisis, a frontline water management centre will open, bringing together various agencies to assist with flood mitigation efforts.”

Back in 2011, 48 agencies were involved in the nation’s water management, leading to overlaps and delays in budget disbursement. Current water management policies focus on proactive measures and preparations for potential emergencies, reported Bangkok Post.

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