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Pattaya Daily News

07 November 2008 :: 22:11:05 pm 1984

The Continuing Pattaya Flood Problem

Pattaya has had extremely heavy downpours of rain during the months of August, September and October and Pattaya residents are finding it increasingly difficult to cope. Every year during the rainy season Pattaya becomes flooded and although City Hall is apparently making some attempts to remedy the situation, it keeps getting worse.
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The Pattaya City Hall Call Centre constantly receives complaints from angry residents, but on the surface nothing seems to have been done. Accordingly, PDN set out to try and find out the true situation and what we discovered made us optimistic.

The PDN team has done a lot of research and has been visiting residents around the local neighbourhood, and not just in the rainy season. We have started to collect photos of the delayed road projects and have a lot of different information about Pattaya’s seemingly disorganized attempt to improve matters.

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In the past, the city tried various ways to remedy the flooding problem, but it was evidently getting worse every year. Residents, understandably, became resigned to this unfortunate state of affairs, accepting that during the rainy season, they would just have to grin and bear it. However, there is now a light on the horizon, City Hall has allocated a substantial budget to deal with the problem once and for all. The budget allocation is in two phases: the first, effective immediately, will amount to Bt300 million and the second will be for Bt100 million some time later.

The Causes Of Flooding In Pattaya

1. Pattaya West area, the most affected location, is low-lying, near the sea, and suffers from a bad drainage system.

2. The city has been growing in a haphazard manner, with; as yet, no effective long-term development plans in place.

3. Certain housing projects are disrupting the drainage system.

The lowest lying areas are the entrances to Soi 5 December and the South Pattaya traffic intersection.

The first rain-induced water channel occurs at Soi 5 December. When the rain fills this area, creating a shallow lake, it then flows across the Sukhumvit Road, and continues along Pattaya Third Road, always creating a large flood in front of the Hard Tien Restaurant.

In the passage of the flood from Sukhumvit Road through Central Pattaya, there are some huge broken pipes in front of Mae Sri Reun Restaurant, which contribute yet more water that then flows through Soi Buakow to continue to the sea at Bali Hai Pier.

The second water channel occurs at the South Pattaya intersection, where another shallow lake tends to form. Overflowing once again due to the rain’s intensity, this strong current of water comes from Sukhumvit 69, flows through the pipe under the railway and when it comes to a region of smaller pipes, it creates a bottleneck, causing further damage to the complex of pipes in the vicinity of the residential area of Sois Leng Gee and Buakow.

Just to show how strong the pressure of the floodwater was recently, a Toyata car, which was parked on Sukhumvit Road, was pushed 200 metres along the road to eventually come to rest in the middle of the highway, effectively blocking all the traffic on Sukhumvit Road.

PDN staff went to visit Mr. Noo, a man who has over 10 rooms for rent in Soi Sukhumvit 69, and each year he has to contend with the flooding, which sometimes rises half way up his fence. He always attempts to build a water block, but it is increasingly ineffective and he’s forced to pump the water out or use buckets.

Mr. Noo said the problem has got progressively worse, especially since some housing projects were built by a local politician. The projects connected very small diameter pipes to the larger drainage pipes, which severely restricted the water flow in the whole system.

Mrs. Dokmai (83), a local grandma who has 6 rooms for rent along the railway, said she lost all her tenants because of the flood. Now she has all her relative living in her rooms.

Every year at this time is a nightmare; everyone has been allocated duties to keep bailing the water out of the rooms. She said the flood was once so high it completely covered the window and they had to throw all their possessions away.

However, this year, they are lucky, as the City Hall has installed a permanent water pump in front of their houses. But it only helps a bit; they still have to move everything up onto the high shelves. The water level sometimes reaches as high as 60-70 cm. during this time, even thought they are using the water pump.

“Why not move somewhere else?” we asked.

“We don’t know where to go. We have been here for 30 years; it has only been this bad in the last 2-3 years. I hope they can do something about this soon. Please help us,” implored the woman.

Long Term Flood Protection Project

Pattaya has been adjusting its current strategy to deal with the flood situation with talks of creating a master plan to deal with flooding on a long-term basis, especially by utilizing the help of the city residents.

A. The first project, which is already 80% complete, is the Bt300 million scheme to channel the water from the low-lying land through pipes into:

1. a big, monkey-cheek shaped pond at Moo. 4, Huay Yai

2. Naklua canal and then on to the sea. The City is also installing 6 huge electric water pumps to expedite drainage:
· underground in front of Soi 5 December, Central Pattaya, and Sukhumvit Road;
· underground in front of Tantiwat Shop, South Pattaya Road;
· along the east side of the railway road in four locations: Soi Kow Noi, behind Samakkee Temple, Soi Nong Krabok and before Soi Chaiyapruk 2.

The first area will pump the water to return to the Mini Siam area, through the Naklua canal and carry on to the sea. The others will pump the excess water into Huay Yai pond, which covers a 21 rai area, is 4 metres deep and can contain more than 200,000 cubic meters of water.

The second project, with a budget of Bt100 million, will in turn transfer the stored water from Huay Yai pond to Chark nok reservoir for further use.

In an interview with Mr. Wirat Jirasripaitoon, Director of Pattaya Sanitary Works Department, he said “we aren’t worried about the water from the city, but we are concerned about the water from the east side.”

He explained that most of the water flows from the east of the Nongprue area because it is higher and has no standard drainage system. Nongprue also has a lot of housing projects in progress, and Pattaya will most definitely face a major flood crisis situation if the sea level increases at the same time as it rains. Pattaya might become an underwater city then!

They expect the project will be finished by next year. At the present time, they are installing the water pumps.

When asking about the damage to the road shoulder, Mr. Wirat said the city is investigating how to fix this problem and give it future protection. They might use pipes, a waterspout or a line of rocks along the road. However, this will require a budget extension he said.

Mr. Wirat reckoned that this project would help prevent about 60-70% of the flooding and will at least provide a temporary solution.

Pattaya flooding problem needs the co-operation of two sanitation districts: Pattaya and Nongprue.

The PDN team then went to visit Mr.Samrerng Keawpanuk, the head officer who the acts on behalf of the Director of Nongprue Sanitary Works Department.

He explained that the Nongprue Sanitary Works Department was established in the beginning of January 2008, and is obviously still in the process of studying the problems of the water drainage system. He said Nong prue has many different levels of land, which are susceptible to flooding.

The worst flood problems occur either in Soi Bunsampan 12 and 14, or Sois Kow Noi and Kow Tahlow. The water current tends to flow from Wat bun Sampan. The low-lying areas are Chatkaew Village 1,3,5,9, Burapa Village, Paradise Hill, Pattaya Rungreung Village and Wat Bunsampan 9, which are all affected.

However, the Nongprue Sanitary Works Department has installed some water pumps, but sadly not enough to completely solve the problem.

Mr. Sumrerng commented that Nong prue ostensibly has 46,000 legal residents, but, in fact, there are more than 100,000 people living in the area. Nongprue has an annual budget to run the area of only Bt200 million, , whilst Pattaya has a Bt4,000 million budget.

He also said that people who work in, or have businesses in Pattaya, but live in Nongprue, using Nongprue facilities, make it difficult for the new Sanitary Works Department to improve the service in the short term, especially considering their limited budget compared with Pattaya. [They only have one million baht to spend on drainage system]

When we asked him for his proposals on improving the Pattaya flooding problem, he said first there should be more effective co-operation to build a big pond on the empty land before Wat Bunsampan. This area is already low-lying and the soil has been dug up to sell, effectively creating the basis of a pond already. This land belongs to a private owner, but if they purchase the land, it will go a long way towards solving the problem.

He said this idea would be in support of the more comprehensive Pattaya plan because this pond will hold a large amount of water before it is later distributed.

From PDN research, we ascertained that there are also several contributory factors, which exacerbate the problem:

· the big houses in the villages keep expanding, which narrows the road down; · the house project owners attempt to cut costs by using small pipes;

· the owners of the lower land area keep filling up their land, even covering up the drainage system;

· the street food vendors irresponsibly throw their rubbish into the drains.

All these contributory factors must be solved first before there can be any long-term solution, but we are optimistic.

Farang complained


Reporter : Wirraphun   Photo : PDN staff   Category : Society

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