This past August of 2011, before the storm which unleashed flooding on Chiang Mai at the end of September, the Friends of the Chiang Mai Railway Park produced a pamphlet outlining some of our concerns at the conditions in the park with some suggestions for improvements.
A major issue was the repeated dredging the canal which runs along the northern edge of the park. Our view was this was destructive, trees we planted were destroyed by heavy dredging equipment on three occasions, and that rather than aiding in flood mitigation, the dredging served only to store polluted water in anaerobic conditions which made it smelly and unsanitary. We also pointed out that our research indicated that once the canal flowed south and to the east of the railway station. This part of the canal has been filled in and now only a narrow outlet passes under the road to the south.
The pamphlet was given to an officer of the Chiang Mai Municipal Council at a meeting he addressed of the Chiang Mai Friends Group. He forwarded it on to the Chief Engineer of the city who asked for an explanation in Thai and met two members of the Friends of the Park in his office. He was advised at the meeting against further dredging of the canal and that the original course should be restored to provide proper drainage.
So what was done in response to the advice and how did the actions effect the flood?
The following pictures, taken on the 30th September, showing how water flowed through the flooded Railway Park, exiting in a torrent along the main driveway onto the road opposite the station and then on to Camp Gawila where the flood level was over half a metre higher than on the east side of the railway:
Here are some of our favourites so far:
The final two pictures show how the canal had been sealed off, forcing water to flood to the south and the open canal some months earlier.