Chao Phraya River Basin, Thailand (WWDR1, 2003)

Click on the map to access a detailed view. Map prepared for WWAP by AFDEC.

THAILAND’S CHAO PHRAYA RIVER BASIN supplies a major metropolitan region. It covers 160,000 square kilometres (km2), representing 30 percent of the country’s total area, and is home to 23 million people. Of these, some 8 million live in the capital city of Bangkok. Unlike Japan and France, however, the country has been slow to adopt a comprehensive approach to reform and legislation. It also cannot afford high-tech solutions to such critical water problems as floods, droughts and pollution. When drought conditions lead to water shortages in Bangkok, the result is overpumping of groundwater and subsequent land subsidence and more flooding. Deforestation in the basin’s rural areas leads to flash floods, erosion and landslides. There is hope that the newly created River Basin Committees will bring about a more equitable sharing of the resource and that participatory approaches will lead to wiser governance.

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