Monitor lizard blamed for failure of Bangkok water pumps during heavy rains

A monitor lizard was found in a large water pump in Bangkok’s Bang Khen district yesterday (Wednesday), disrupting its operation and that of three more in adjacent areas and leaving them unable to pump floodwater away during the heavy showers which have been falling since Tuesday night.

Bang Khen district was one of the hardest hit by flooding yesterday.

The four water pumps developed trouble late Tuesday night, automatically switching off every 15 minutes and restarting again repeatedly. The pumps drain water from Ram Intra Soi 5, the Amarin housing estate and nearby areas into a canal in the area.

A team was later sent to investigate and they found a monitor lizard inside one of the four pumps which are linked and operate automatically. The reptile was removed, and a maintenance team was sent to fix the problem.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha inspected the drainage system at Wongwian Bang Khen in Bang Khen district today and instructed officials in the district to make sure that the pumps there are in working condition and operational around the clock.

He said that, usually, the pumps there are capable of coping with rainfall of between 50 and 60mm, but not more than 100mm, as was the case Tuesday night, which caused widespread flooding in Bangkok, including Bang Khen, which was hardest hit.

An expert on monitor lizards from Save Wildlife Thailand, Rujira Mahaprom, said today that the lizards, by their nature, prefer to live near water and in drainage pipes in Bangkok, which provide ideal shelter in which they can live and move around uninterrupted.

Hence, it is difficult to prevent the beasts from getting into the pipelines and emerging during flooding, he said, adding that fine mesh would not help either, because the small ones can slip through.

He admitted that he cannot figure out how many of the reptiles are sheltering in Bangkok’s drainage system, but he cited the case of Lumpini Park, which covers about 58 hectares and which is home to about 300 such lizards.

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