BANGKOK, Feb 11 — Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Saturday said that she would begin a ‘flood trail’ on Monday to follow up on water management plans and to make sure the residents in flood affected areas (from the North down to the capital) are well-informed of the situation, as well as progress related to flood recovery.

In her weekly TV programme on National Broadcasting Television (NBT) channel 11, the “Yingluck Government Meets the People,” Ms Yingluck said that from Feb 13-17, she would visit upstream, midstream and downstream areas to review flood solving progress and go over the plan, budget, problems and solutions of projects implemented under the Flood Recovery and Restoration Committee and the Strategic Committee for Water Resources Management to help flood victims.

The upstream areas would include Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Sukhothai, Uttaradit, Tak, Nan, Prae, Lampang, Lamphun and Phayao; midstream are Phitsanulok, Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thaini, Pichit, Kamphaeng Phet and Chai Nat, while downstream areas include Suphan Buri, Ayutthaya, Prachin Buri, Sing Buri, Ang Thong, Lop Buri, Saraburi, Nakhon Nayok, Nonthaburi, Samut Sakorn, Samut Prakarn, Chachoengsao, Nakhon Pathom, Pathum Thani and Bangkok.

During the visits, the premier would listen to first-hand information, problems and solutions from local offices and related parties. This will enhance understanding between policymaking and implementation levels and will result in concrete solutions. The premier will also visit projects in operating areas.

Ms Yingluck said the water volume in 2001 was 20 billion cubic metres and it was forecast that in 2012 there would be at least three storms leading to a similar high volume of water.

The upstream area could delay water by planting forests, building dykes and discharging water from dams to spare room for rainwater.

At the midstream area, she said, the government was looking for 2 million rai of land (800,000 acres) for water retention areas and the locations picked would have to minimize effects to communities while natural reservoirs would be improved to increase their capacity for water storage.

The premier said she would inspect the strength of the water sluice gates in Chai Nat and Nakhon Sawan and CCTV would be installed to drain water in accordance with the water discharged from dams.

Downstream, she said 48 canals in Bangkok would be dredged within three months to facilitate the drainage of water. Authorities would ensure that the Chao Phraya River was in good condition to drain water into the sea with no blockage.

Ms Yingluck said she was confident that a newly established agency – the National Water Resources and Flood Policy Committee chaired by herself – could manage water resources effectively and handle the flood problems better than the previous year. (MCOT online news)