11 Jun 2013

Using a DSS to protect Thailand from floods

We established an operational water management Decision Support System (DSS) for Thailand following the devastating 2011 floods.

We established an operational water management Decision Support System (DSS) for Thailand following the devastating 2011 floods. Using our DSS, Thai authorities can improve water management in the Chao Phraya River basin, in particular for flood management. Now Thailand can better prepare for future floods, while also managing its water resources.

Heavy rains during the monsoon season in 2011 triggered devastating floods throughout the country. The flooding affected large parts of Bangkok and most of the industrial areas upstream of the Thai capital. With more than 900 factories in 28 provinces affected, the flooding took a heavy toll on Thailand’s manufacturing industry. In addition, over 20,000 km2 of farmland was damaged. After the waters receded, more than 800 people were dead and the country’s economic damage and losses stood at more than USD 45 billion.

To help Thailand improve its flood planning and management in the future, we developed a DSS driven by our software platform MIKE CUSTOMISED by DHI. The DSS’s Flood Forecasting model covers the entire 160,000km2 Chao Phraya River Basin, including Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. From the DSS webpages, users can access:

  • information about the project
  • real-time data
  • forecast data
  • water balance analysis
  • flood management tools

The system provides users with forecasted levels and discharges at 28 locations up to seven days in advance. This allows for short- and medium-term flood forecasting. The fast, accurate and reliable information provided by the DSS enables Thailand to:

  • issue early warnings in flood prone areas
  • plan for and initiate emergency actions
  • conduct analyses to contain floods in reservoirs and retention basins
  • mitigate flood impacts on the public and major industries

To ensure a strong transfer of knowledge and maximum use of our solution, we worked closely with Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute (under the Thai Ministry of Science and Technology) and Thai partners to develop the DSS. The project also included assistance to and guidance of local modellers in:

  • model schematisation and application
  • design and development of knowledge database management systems
  • development of real-time reservoir and flood forecasting systems

By providing this support, we helped ensure that the knowledge of building and using a real-time DSS remains in Thailand long after the project finished.