Plodprasop pushes water plans for Northeast, South
Published: 19 Apr 2013 at 00.00Newspaper section: News
Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi plans to launch two projects worth about 200 billion baht to help manage droughts and floods across the country.
The plan, which could come about within the next three years, would divert water from the Mekong River to vast tracts of the Northeast.
It would also build dykes in southern coastal areas to prevent flooding caused by high sea levels.
Mr Plodprasop chairs the government’s Water Management and Flood Prevention Commission. He said the Northeast is struggling with an insufficient water supply.
He said there are three options to increase water supply for the region: diverting water from the Mekong River, diverting water from Laos, or diverting water from the Salween River. However, diverting water from the Mekong would be the easiest option considering the region’s geography, he said.
The Mekong River forms part of the Thai-Lao border.
Mr Plodprasop said the Northeast has received 20% less rainfall than normal this year. He said there is not enough water to keep up with demand.
The Central Plains region is not facing the same shortage, he said. There is enough water reserved at the Bhumibol and Sirikit dams until early next month.
A project to divert water to the Northeast from the Mekong River would cost about 100 billion baht.
Sea dykes in the South are also needed to prevent flooding as global warming leads to a higher sea level, he said.
The dyke project would also cost about 100 billion baht, he said.
Both projects will be implemented in the next three years after the government completes the first phase of the water management plan in the Chao Phraya River Basin and 17 other river basins.
The first phase is expected to cost 350 billion baht. The project includes reforestation, waterway dredging and the construction of 30 small- and medium-sized reservoirs to double the country’s water storage capacity from 4 billion to 8 billion cubic metres.