Thailand’s National Reform Council Reports Bangkok Could be Under Water within 15 Years

Thai capital, built on swampland, is slowly sinking

Thai capital, built on swampland, is slowly sinking


BANGKOK – A panel set up by Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha’s National Reform Council has warned that without urgent action, Bangkok could be under water within 15 years because of excessive pumping from the aquifer, the weight of mushrooming development and rising sea levels.

Immediate andcostly solutions areneeded to avert a catastrophe, the NRC committee studying the risk of Bangkok being submerged said in a report presented to parliament on Wednesday.

Witthaya Kulsomboon, head of the committee, saidBangkok and adjacent provinces were only 0.5 to 2 metres above mean sea level and sinking. Thelongstanding and excessive use of underground water inareas without tap water supplies and the heavy weight of tall buildings were accelerating the subsidence.

“There are about 700 buildings with 20 floors or more and 4,000 buildings with 8-20 floors in Bangkok. There are also many electric railways. These could cause the submergence of parts of Bangkok and surrounding areas in the future,” he said.

Mr Witthaya recommended a national committee chaired by Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha be set up to handle the issue.

Solutions must be urgently implementedand would be costly, and the relocation of the capital might have to be considered, he said.

Some reform Councillors proposed the government stop the growth of the capital and surrounding areas and move industries and businesses out of Bangkok.

The National Reform Council is tosend the submergence report to the cabinet in seven days.

Sujarit Khunthanakulwong, a member of the NRC committee, later said the exploitation of underground water and building construction must be controlled, “otherwise, Bangkok will be submerged in 15 years”.

He recommended a sea wall embankment stretching from Si Racha district in Chon Buri to Hua Hin district in Prachuap Khiri Khan to protect the greater Bangkok area from rising sea levels. The cost of construction could be as much as 500 billion baht, Mr Sujarit said.

By Aekarach Sattaburuth

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Posted by on Jul 22 2015. Filed under Regional News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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