Their district under water for 141 days last year, Bang Rakam residents are hopeful new water management plans, known as the Bang Rakam model, will prevent a repeat this year.
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Bang Rakam district of Phitsanulok was one of the first to be flooded and last to be drained. This photo was taken in late August, 2011. CHINNAWAT SINGHA
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Residents pin hopes on govt's Bang Rakam model
Ambitious water management plan covers swamp dredging, dams
Residents in flood-prone Bang Rakam district of Phitsanulok are pinning their hopes on a government water management plan to help keep them dry this year.
Flooding is an unwelcome part of life for Bang Rakam residents living along the Yom River.
Floods hit the pan-shaped Bang Rakam basin every year and the flooding often lingers for 110-120 days.
However, last year the situation was worse.
Bang Rakam was under floodwater for 141 days, making the district the worst hit of any nationwide.
More than 200,000 rai of farmland in the district was inundated.
The floods ravaged nine districts in Phitsanulok province, damaging 680,000 rai of farmland, mostly paddy fields.
The death toll in the province was 23 with 56,442 households affected.
Yingluck Shinawatra launched a flood relief model, known as the Bang Rakam model, in a visit to the flood-hit district recently.
The model will serve as a pilot project to solve both flood and drought problems across the country through efficient water management.
Bang Rakam rice farmers grow two crops each year. The first crop runs between November and March.
After harvesting their first crop between March and April, the farmers immediately start growing the second crop, which is harvested between July and August every year.
During that period, the Yom River often overflows its banks, causing huge amounts of water to flood rice fields in the district.
Most paddy fields are often inundated for 3-4 months. After the floodwaters recede, the district is hit by drought between April and May.
Facing an annual cycle of flooding and drought, residents were starting to despair of ever finding relief.
However, they are now more hopeful after the prime minister kicked off an inspection trip of flood-hit provinces in the North and Central regions last month. The trip came up with water management plans and budgets.
The government has allocated a budget to Phitsanulok to dredge canals and swamps in Bang Rakam district.
A water management plan for major dams upstream has also been drawn up.
Bundit Inta, director of the Phitsanulok irrigation project, said the floodwater management plan in Bang Rakam relied on two major rivers – the Yom and Nan rivers.
Authorities were considering building a reservoir to store water in the upper part of the Yom River and another reservoir in the lower part of the river in lieu of the controversial Kaeng Sua Ten dam project, he said.
Under the water management plan, the Sirikit and Bhumibol dams will reduce discharges of water into the Yom River, if the river level is too high. Water from the Yom River will be discharged to the Nan River.
Before the rainy season, Sirikit dam in Uttaradit province must lower water storage to 45% of its capacity. By May 1, water in the Khwae Noi Bamrung Daen dam will be lowered to 30% of its capacity, the irrigation project director said.
Canals and natural water sources in Bang Rakam will also be dredged.
The government has also set aside 500 million baht to dredge three swamps in Bang Rakam district. The swamps will serve as retention areas during the rainy season, and feed farmland during the dry season.
Mr Bundit said he was confident the measures would help spare Bang Rakam of prolonged flooding this year.
drain – to cause water or fluid to flow out ระบายออก
pin hopes on – to rely on somebody/something completely for success or help พึ่งพาอาศัย
ambitious – difficult and needing a lot of effort to succeed ความทะเยอทยาน
swamp – an area of land covered by water where trees and plants grow หนองน้ำ
dredge – to remove unwanted things from the bottom of a river, canal, lake, etc. using a sucking or other device ขุดลอก
residents – people who live in a particular area ประชาชนที่อาศัยในท้องที่
-prone – (suffix) likely to experience a particular problem more often than is usual ที่มีแนวโน้ม
basin – a large area of land whose surface water all flows into a particular river or lake ลุ่มน้ำ
linger – to stay somewhere longer than is wanted or required อ้อยอิ่ง
nationwide – throughout a whole country ทั่วทั้งประเทศ
inundated – flooded ถูกน้ำท่วม, จมลงใต้น้ำ
ravaged – destroyed; damaged very badly ถูกทำลาย, เสียหาย, ถูกล้างผลาญ
paddy field – a field planted with rice growing in water นาข้าว
household – a group of people, often a family, who live together ครัวเรือน
launch – to start something เปิดโครงการ, เริ่มต้น, เริ่มทำ
relief – help; assistance การช่วยให้พ้นภัย
model – something such as a system that can be copied by other people น่าถือเป็นแบบอย่าง, ต้นแบบ
pilot project – a plan, product or system that is used to test how good something is before introducing it โครงการ นำร่อง
drought – a long period of time when there is little or no rain ความแห้งแล้ง
efficient – effective and well organised มีประสิทธิภาพ
crop – a plant grown for food, usually on a farm พืชผล
harvest – to gather in ripe crops เก็บเกี่ยว
immediately – happening right after something else with no delay; right away ทันที
overflow – (of a river or body of water) to flood the land next to it เอ่อล้น, ไหลล้น
bank – a raised area of land along the side of a river ริมฝั่งแม่น้ำ
recede – to move back; to move further away into the distance; subside ลดลง, ถอยหลัง
annual – happening every year ทุกๆปีด
despair – the feeling that there is no hope and that you can do nothing to improve a difficult or worrying situation สิ้นหวัง, ความรู้สึกสิ้นหวัง, ความหมดหวัง
kick off – to begin an event; to launch เริ่มต้น, เริ่มทำ
inspection – the act of looking closely at something or someone and to check that everything is as it should be; examination การตรวจสอบอย่างละเอียด
budget – an amount of money able to be spent on something งบประมาณ
allocate – to officially give something to someone จัดสรร, จัดแบ่ง
upstream – along a river, in the opposite direction to which the river is flowing ต้นน้ำ
irrigation – the process of bringing water to land through a system of pipes, ditches, etc. in order to make crops grow ระบบชลประทาน
rely on – to depend on or trust พึ่งพา เชื่อถือ ไว้ใจ
authorities – people who have the power to make decisions or enforce the law เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
reservoir – a natural or artificial lake where water is stored อ่างเก็บน้ำ
store – to put and keep things in a special place for use in the future เก็บ
in lieu of – instead of แทนที่
controversial – causing disagreement ซึ่งก่อให้เกิดการโต้แย้ง
reduce – to make something smaller or less in amount, size, importance etc ลดลง
discharge – to let a liquid flow out ปล่อยออก, ขับออก
level – the amount of liquid that there is in a container, river, dam, etc., which can be seen by how high the liquid is ระดับ
storage capacity – the amount of something that can be kept in a place, building, container, etc. ความจุ
source – the place something comes from or starts at, or the cause of something แหล่งกำเนิด
retention – the act of keeping or storing something การเก็บ, การเก็บรักษา
confident – certain; having trust in people, plans, or the future มั่นใจ
measure – an action taken to solve a particular problem มาตรการ
spare – to prevent someone from having to experience something unpleasant
prolonged – continuing for a long time ยืดเวลาออกไป
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