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Why Patong floods: a drain filled with concrete and no proper grate

Patong's Mayor Finds Blocked Drains, Illegal Buildings as She Chases the Causes of Flooding

Tuesday, August 26, 2014
PHUKET: Manhole drains with concrete narrowing the inlets, illegal resorts constructed within 20 centimetres of canals . . . frustrated Patong Mayor Chalermlak Kebsub let fly today at Patong's greedy businesses.

''People should be less selfish,'' she said on a tour of Patong to expose why the Phuket holiday hub floods with greater intensity these days. ''Businesses should show concern for public interest and the environment.''

Thigh-high water has flooded Patong's police station and surrounded its hospital three times in the past two weeks, with more rains forecast between now and the end of the wet season in November.

Mayor Chalermlak promised flood relief and said today she had started a campaign to clear drains in beach road and other parts of Patong.

However, construction around Phangmuang Sai Kor Road - the road behind Jungceylon shopping mall - posed a new set of problems.

Royal Thai Navy 3 engineers, asked to help clear Patong's flooding problem, looked on today as the mayor toured the area with the Phuket Roads Department.

They were shown a five-storey construction that had permission to build but not to encroach on the three-metre space that was supposed to be left beside a canal. The builders left 20 centimetres. Patong Council officials must now decide whether they take back the space, which would in effect mean demolition of the entire building.

Manholes were seen along the roadside today blocked with concrete or without grates on the top, so water simply cannot flow away.

The road's constructors were supposed to have the job finished in 700 days but September 12 will mark 900 days. The explanation, a representative told officials today, was the high cost of construction on Phuket.

''We didn't realise that road building costs were 90 percent higher on Phuket than in other parts of Thailand,'' the mayor was told. ''We are having to go to Phang Nga to buy materials to truck back to the island.''

Difficult decisions have to be made but illegal constructions that block canals or reduce public access to them probably deserve to be reduced to rubble.

Long-term answers to Patong perpetual flooding problems - blocked canals and human greed - may take time to find.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


''We didn't realise that road building costs were 90 percent higher on Phuket than in other parts of Thailand,'' the mayor was told.

And who was in charge for planning the project ? Probably Mickey Mouse ! These people need to be fired on the spot.

Posted by Resident on August 26, 2014 17:28


Yes reduce this illegal building to rubble. This type of greed is exactly whats wrong with Phuket. Show them you mean business, madam mayor.
And 900 days to build middle road? And its still a long way from finished. "Oh we didn't realize construction was 90% more expensive on Phuket" is a pathetic non - excuse. Sheer bloody incompetence!

Posted by jimbo34 on August 26, 2014 17:41


This is indeed an enormous problem but the solution is very simple. The developments blocking the drainage have to be removed. Of they have to remove a 5 story building then that is tough luck - they should have built within the boundaries of what they were allowed to do. Well done Mrs Mayor, you are doing a great job. Keep it up !

Posted by Amazing Thailand on August 26, 2014 17:46


The old mayor must be held accountable for the mess he has left Patong in, if he had pride in himself and his country he would be handing over Patong in a better condition than when he took office, blatant power driven by greed, a disgrace, justice should be done.

Posted by coxo on August 26, 2014 19:26


If just moving buildings that encroach upon drainage channels was the answer, the solution is easy. However, I suspect the problem to be more complicated and the reason flooding has become more frequent is because the natural catchment basin is loosing volume or displacement due to continuing development. Every new building slightly decreasing the catchment and slightly increasing the flood level in what is typical of 'death by a thousand cuts'.

The Mayor of Patong only has one choice if she wants to solve the problem and even when realised it may take decades.
First she needs to forgot all advice and solutions previously provided because they are bandaid solutions with the aim of being seen as making an effort and from what I have seen and read, do not go anywhere near addressing the real issues.

Start by mapping the Patong catchment with a detailed contour survey.
Get all existing stormwater drawings that are available, whether correct of not and confirm what is exactly in place now, sizes and the condition.
Have a Hydrologist carry out a full catchment analysis then determine what volume of stormwater the existing systems can handle.
Determine what level of flooding is acceptable in Patong and this may differ in certain areas.

Redesign the whole Patong stormwater system giving consideration to what parts of the existing system can be reused and what new infrastructure can be built in and around existing development.
Plan to upgrade the system over a number of years making sure that any new development suits the new stormwater master plan.
Enforce new developments to included adequately sized stormwater detention system with outlet orrifice plates to restrict the flow to minimise additional peak stormwater flows on the system.
Budget for the works say over a 10 year period and do it properly without short cuts.
It won't be cheap to fix, probably in the order of $100m depending on the condition and suitability of how much of the existing can be reused. A full analysis and master plan would cost them $500k and provide the authorities with details of the problems, issues and what work is required.

Posted by Manowar on August 26, 2014 19:45


Well done lady mayor drag the crooks past and present in front of the courts no matter who they think they are or were they authorised this mess have them locked up and make them pay .

Posted by Scunner on August 26, 2014 21:49


Thailand lost 9% of its BIP two or three years ago to flooding. Stormwater security should be important to Thailand and Patong. But as with nearly all infrastructure related things, competent people do not have power or are sidelined by mug faces.

Posted by Lena on August 26, 2014 23:26


Demolish all illegal buildings, which will hopefully stop others making illegal buildings.
Hopefully they will get rid of that building in Soi Sansabai that needs to removed because it is a danger to the public.

Posted by Tbs on August 27, 2014 01:21


It can never be fixed.
In the mid- eighties, all land between the front of Jungceylon back to Nanai was disused paddy fields.
When it rained, the water soaked into these fields. If the rain continued past the point where these paddy fields could absorb the water, then the limited drainage back then worked to channel the excess water to the klong at the southern end of the beach.
Only very rarely did Patong flood and that was due to either exceptionally torrential rain during a high tide, or prolonged rain that totally water-logged the paddy fields.

There are no substitutes for those fields where the majority of the rainfall soaked into the earth and the drainage system doesn't work during the high tide periods.

Posted by sir burr on August 27, 2014 03:44


To the new Lady mayor. Please do roll back the carpet of the Patong administration, you will feel like you just won a billion Thai Baht on the lottery. Then look in the cupboards and haul out all those ghosts in there too. Thank you.

Posted by Robin on August 27, 2014 08:29


This good Lady Mayor impresses me. No wonder she encountered problems early in her tenure. She must have a reputation for honesty & hard work that preceded her into the job. 'They' were plainly quite scared of her, apparently with due cause, & I hope it is 'they' who are now held accountable. Keep up the good work Madam.

Posted by Logic on August 27, 2014 08:41


What better way to send a message than to require the building owner to remove the portion of a building that is illegally encroaching on the canals, NO favorites. They knew it was wrong, and it is the only way to send a message that illegal work will not be accepted. I can assure you that once people see buildings getting costly renovation/demolition, developers will take note. Again, it is no longer biz as usual.

Posted by Ed Sanders on August 27, 2014 16:19

Sunday June 13, 2021
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