Bill Achariyasoonthorn (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Weronika Myslak (email@example.com)
Project Location(s): Chiang Mai and Mae Chan, Thailand
Current Focus: Flood Mitigation
Mission: Our organization works in collaboration with Chiang Mai University students (PURPLElab) and faculty, as well as Michigan-based supporters including the Center for Socially-Engaged Design and UM faculty, in pursuit of creating sustainable solutions for flood mitigation in our partner district of Mae Chan, Thailand.
Team History: Thailand is subject to excessive rainfall and flash-flooding each year. These floods can disrupt economic activities, damage local infrastructure, and even threaten countless human lives. Mae Chan is no exception to this trend. Our annual visits to the city began in May 2016, when we first established relationships with local stakeholders and conducted an ethnography-based needs assessment. From this, we learned that due to geographical factors and outdated infrastructure, even the least severe storms can flood the city’s most essential areas. In our second year, we refined our needs statements and narrowed our project focus which resulted in the identification of two problems that we are working to solve:
1.) A way to clear debris from inside the pipes - The drainage system in Mae Chan is regularly clogged by sediment and debris from runoff and city waste, which inhibits the flow of water through the city.
2.) A way to control the flow of water through the city - Some areas of Mae Chan are at lower elevations and therefore more prone to flooding. The municipality uses metal plates and recycled tires to block several drainage points, preventing the flow of water into these areas. According to our stakeholders, these methods are difficult to install and are susceptible to damage by high water pressure and sharp debris.
These past two years, we were able to build prototypes that address these two needs assessment. The overall scope of our work, after constant input and feedback from our stakeholders, has shifted increasingly towards need statement number 2.
Achievements: Several of our achievements include, but are not limited to:
- A hydraulic water jet nozzle used to clear sediment and debris in the pipe system
- A rotating steel gate currently installed in the Mae Chan pipe system used to block the flow of water
- An inflatable pipe blockage used to clog up pipe ends and openings to block the flow of water
- A web app of the Mae Chan city map that models the drainage junctions within the infrastructure
Partner Organization: Chiang Mai University (PURPLElab), Mae Chan Department of Disaster Mitigation
For updates on BLUElab Thailand, check out their Facebook, Instagram, and Purpose Video!