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What Caused the 2011 Thailand Floods?

I am going to talk about what caused the 2011 Thai floods. I have provided images from my model to help clarify my point. There is something called soft engineering management and hard engineering management. Soft engineering management is when we use natural processes to control the natural flow of water. Thailand is using hard engineering management, when man-made obstructions are controlling the flow of water. Soft engineering strategies include: Having a flood plain near a river. This is when there is a free land next to a river, letting less water travel down stream so that incase of a flood, the water can go into the free land, where nothing is built on. This flood plain can infiltrate grassy surfaces, making less surface run-offs, which reduces discharge flooding. It helps create more wildlife habitats, and it protects soil erosion. The reason why Thailand doesnt have much of these is because it requires to much land. Afforestation Afforestation is when you plant things like trees near a river. This helps more rain water infiltrate underground and intercept. Theres a lower discharge and once the water goes underground it can transpirate, condense, precipitate, using the various water cycle ways. Thailand is cutting more trees down because it requires a lot of space and it cant really prevent serious flooding. The last thing is that the river is managed. When a river is managed it is allow to flow naturally to get to the mouth. The river allows tributaries to join and forms meanders along the way. The negative things to having this is, frequent flooding rates can increase and small homes can be easily flooded.

Thailand doesnt have much of the soft engineering strategies, and instead uses the hard engineering strategy. This is much more expensive and are made by man. I think this is one of the major reasons towards why Thailand is flooding. In Thailand, to control the amount of water we have let in and out, we use a dam. There are 2 major dams in Thailand. The reason why Thailand uses a dam is because they can be used to generate electricity, and in the upstream of the dam, the land floods, a reservoir forms and that can provide us with more recreational activities. The problem with the dams in Thailand is the land upstream of the dam is flooded and can change eco-systems. The dam has a risk of failing. Farmland may be destroyed and a valley can be flooded form a reservoir. People may also be forced to move to another area. After the water passes through the dams, sand banks form because the water slows down. The Chao Phraya river also has an embankment. It is when walls are built to deepen the water effectively. They are expensive and look un-natural but Thailand has them to protect the building and cities from flooding. Thailand doesnt have very good land use zoning, as the buildings and houses are built near the river. This also has a high risk for flooding. In order to build we use concrete, and when we use concrete the water cant infiltrate and go through the water cycle as much as the water is stuck. Thailand also straightens and deepens the river. This is called channelizing the river. This makes the river move faster, as there are no meanders along the way. This lets the water not build up, so that its less likely to flood. The problem with this is when the water gets down stream, where the river is un-channelized; the river builds up and causes a flood.

Bangkok is a city built on the delta, so when the water eventually reaches the mouth there are no deltas that can form.

I also think that the change of climate and weather also has a part towards why the flood was caused. With our man made obstructions and not too much natural ways to let the water flow, when new weather came, especially the monsoon season coming earlier, Thailand wasn't too prepared and that's why the flood ended up being very major overflowing many forms of water. Every year according to charts the rainfall increases.

Model Pictures: Hard Engineering (Un-natural, man made Obstructions):

1. Houses by a RIver

2. Cities by a River / Embankments

3. Damns and Sand Banks

4. Whole Model

Soft Engineering (natural processes kept):

1. Afforestation Trees by the River

2. River

3. Altogether- Including the Free land

4. Managed Water (left natural)