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Living dams

Sonia PhalnikarOctober 7, 2014

Thailand is trying to combat floods by building dams made of bamboo and sand and planting new trees. That helps stabilize the soil during the rains and eventually pays off for farmers too by producing better harvests.

Teaser Thailand ohne GI Logo
Image: Christian Uhlig

Living flood control in Thailand

Project goal: drought and flood protection in Thailand
Implementation: dams made of bamboo and sand and newly planted trees slow the currents of rivers, ensure rising groundwater levels and reduce the danger of flooding
Size: the measures are helping 500 people
Investment: 2.8 million Euros

Farmers in Thailand are struggling to cope with growing droughts during the dry season and floods and mudslides during the monsoon. One way to get a grip on the huge masses of water and ensure there’s enough during the dry season are so-called “living fortifications.” These dams are made of organic materials such as bamboo and sediment. The farmers near the Tha Di river can plan and build them themselves. They’re getting help from Germany’s international development organization GIZ as well as scientists from Thailand who are measuring the speed of the river’s flow and researching marine life. The climate extremes in Thailand can be partially traced to huge rubber plantations that dry out the soil and prevent water from percolating the ground.

A film by Christian Uhlig