Water diversion project under fire | Bangkok Post: news

Activists have voiced their opposition to Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadis plan to divert water from the Salween and Mekong rivers to feed the water-starved Northeast. The proposed projects are not the right solution to the drought problem in the region, they said.Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop SuraswadiMr Plodprasop, who chairs the governments Water Management and Flood Prevention Commission, said last week that the body is considering three options to increase the water supply in northeastern provinces, which have long suffered from shortages, especially in the annual dry season.The options are to divert water either from the Mekong or Salween rivers, or from other waterways in Laos.Whichever is chosen, the project is likely to cost 100 billion baht and should get under way within the next few years, Mr Plodprasop said.He added that the preferred and easiest option, due to the geography of the region, is to divert water from the Mekong, which forms part of the Thai-Lao border.However, his ideas have met strong opposition from activist groups monitoring the governments water management policy.Hannarong Yaowalers, chairman of Thai-Water Partnerships, said the project is set to repeat the failures of the notorious Mekong-Chi-Moon water diversion scheme. That project, which was completed in 1991, failed to come close to achieving its targets, Mr Hannarong said.Despite the construction of nearly 20 dams, the finished scheme was able to feed just 100,000 rai of farmland, far below the target of 4.2 million rai, he said.Another problem with Mr Plodprasops “unrealistic” Mekong proposal is that during the dry season the river level drops significantly, Mr Hannarong said.Also, Laos has expanded its farmlands in the area, putting increased demand on water from the Mekong, which forms most of the border between the two countries, the activist said.

via Water diversion project under fire | Bangkok Post: news.

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