The Royal Irrigation Department is pressing ahead with the Mae Wong dam project, but opposition from environmentalists is also likely to be strong.
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The cabinet has approved the Mae Wong dam project which will inundate part of a national park and the Royal Irrigation Department is pressing ahead with its implementation, but environmentalists are also stepping up their efforts to oppose it. NATTHITI AMPRIWAN
RID defies activists, pushes for new dam
The Royal Irrigation Department will press ahead with the controversial Mae Wong dam project in Nakhon Sawan province despite growing protests from environmental groups.
The department, which is developing the dam, is expected to complete an environmental and health impact assessment of the project in July, Somkiat Prajamwong, director of the RID's project management office, told the Bangkok Post.
After that the department would submit the report to the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning, the Independent Commission on Environment and Health, and the National Environment Board for final approval, he said.
Mr Somkiat said the RID had started the EHIA study last September when about 4,000 residents of Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani and Kamphaeng Phet were invited to give their opinions on the dam's construction.
A final public review of the EHIA will be held in Nakhon Sawan next month.
"The report will cover all concerns about the dam's environmental impacts, especially the impact on wildlife and forest area," Mr Somkiat said.
"The department also set aside more than 500 million baht for environmental impact mitigation measures."
The cabinet on April 10 gave the green light to the dam's construction in Mae Wong district with a budget of 13.28 billion baht. The project is aimed at solving flood and water shortage problems in the Sakae Krang river basin which covers Uthai Thani, Nakhon Sawan, Chai Nat, and Kamphaeng Phet.
The dam would inundate about 13,260 rai of protected forest in the Mae Wong National Park.
Proposed in 1984, the dam has been delayed for many years as the project's environmental impact study had failed to get approval from the National Environment Board.
It also faced fierce protests from environmentalists, who said the project would damage one of the country's most pristine forests and home of rare wildlife species.
Mr Somkiat admitted that the RID had decided to build the dam in the forest because it did not want to encounter problems with local residents who might have to be evacuated to pave the way for the dam's construction.
"Building the dam inside the national park will cause damage to the ecological system, but it will increase the irrigation area and ease flood problems. It's a trade-off," he said.
Environmental groups, however, have stepped up their protests against the dam, which they said would not solve flood problems in the river basin.
cabinet – the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy คณะรัฐมนตรี
approve – to give official permission อนุมัต
inundate – to flood; to submerge ท่วม, ทำให้จมลงใต้น้ำ
Royal Irrigation Department – The Thai government department in charge of the country's irrigation system กรมชลประทาน
press ahead – to continue as planned despite difficulties ดำเนินการ
implementation – the process of making something such as a plan, system, idea or law start to work and be used การบังคับใช้ (กฎหมาย)
environmentalist – someone who wants to protect the environment นักสิ่งแวดล้อม, คนที่ทำงานด้านรักษาสิ่งแวดล้อม
step up – to increase; to cause to happen at a faster rate เร่ง
oppose – to disagree with or not approve of a plan or policy คัดค้าน
defy – to refuse to obey or accept someone or something ฝ่าฝืน,ไม่เชื่อฟัง, เป็นปฏิปักษ์ต่อ
activist – someone who takes part in activities that are intended to achieve political or social change, especially someone who is a member of an organisation นักกิจกรรม
controversial – causing disagreement ซึ่งก่อให้เกิดการโต้แย้ง
protest – a strong complaint or disagreement การประท้วง
environmental impact assessment – an evaluation/research project into the possible positive or negative effects that a proposed project may have on the environment การประเมินผลกระทบสิ่งแวดล้อม
submit – to formally give something to someone so that can make a decision about it ยื่น (เอกสาร) เพื่อการพิจารณา
residents – people who live in a particular area ประชาชนที่อาศัยในท้องที่
invite – to ask somebody to come to an event เชิญ
construction – the work of building or making something, especially buildings, bridges, etc. การก่อสร้าง
review – the process of studying or examining a situation, policy, or idea again in order to decide whether it is suitable or satisfactory การทบทวน
concern – a worry ความกังวล
wildlife – animals, birds, insects, etc. that are wild and live in a natural environment สัตว์ป่า
set aside – to keep or save something from a larger amount or supply in order to use it later for a particular purpose สำรอง
mitigation – a reduction in the harmful effects of something การบรรเทา การผ่อนคลาย
measure – an action taken to solve a particular problem มาตรการ
budget – an amount of money able to be spent on something งบประมาณ
aim – to have as your purpose or goal มีเป้าหมาย มีจุดมุ่งหมาย
shortage – when there is not enough of something การขาดแคลน
basin – a large area of land whose surface water all flows into a particular river or lake ลุ่มน้ำ
delay – to make something happen at a later time than originally planned or expected เลื่อน
fierce – very strong รุนแรง, ดุเดือด
pristine – in very good condition; unspoiled บริสุทธิ,ดั้งเดิม
rare – not often seen or found หาได้ยาก
species – a set of animals or plants in which the members have similar characteristics to each other and can breed with each other พันธ์,จำพวก
admit – to agree that something is true, especially when you are unhappy, sorry or surprised about it ยอมรับ
encounter – to meet; to experience or deal with something, especially a problem เผชิญกับ (ปัญหา)
local – in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about ท้องถิ่น
evacuate – to force to leave an area ถูกไล่ที่
pave the way – to make something possible or easier to be done ปูทางไว้สำหรับ
ecological system – the system of relationships between the air, land, water, animals, plants, etc., usually of a particular area ความสัมพันธ์ระหว่างสิ่งมีชีวิตในระบบนิเวศน์
trade-off – to accept a disadvantage so that you can have a benefit; the act of balancing two things that are opposed to each other การต้องเลือกอย่างใดอย่างหนึ่ง, ได้อย่างหนึ่งก็ต้องเสียอีกอย่างหนึ่ง
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