Suvarnabhumi Airport Safe From Floods

Thailand's Royal Irrigation Department (RID) will dredge 17 canals to increase the efficiency of drainage systems around Suvarnabhumi airport, announcing its confidence that the showcase airport won't be affected by floods this year.

Chairing a meeting on the drainage system around Suvarnabhumi airport, Royal Irrigation Department director-general Samart Chokkanapitak said the meeting resulted from the Prime Minister's assignment.

Mr. Samart said he was confident that there will not be high water problems at or around the new international airport, which is quite important to the economy, and that waterflow and drainage conditions will be closely monitored.

A budget of Bt80 million will be used to improve the drainage system around the airport, he said, and the Armed Forces Development Command will provide support personnel and equipment to carry out the actual dredging of the canals, he said.

However, he said the project is not entirely ready as the target of being able to pump out water at the rate of 100 cubic meres per second isn't possible this year.

The overall project will be completed in 2008, Mr. Samart said, but for the present, about 20-30 cubic meters of water can be expelled from the system.

Speaking about water management in the Chao Phraya river basin, he said all parties will focus on addressing this seasons flood problems. The maximum amount of water in each reservoir has been fixed at 90 per cent, so there is some capacity for excess water storage during the rainy season.