EEC panel OKs water management strategy

EEC panel OKs water management strategy

The Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Policy Committee on Friday approved water management plans for both the short and long terms to ensure sufficient water supply.

Kanit Sangsubhan, secretary-general of the EEC Office, said the short-term plan covers three projects comprising water diversion from Khlong Sapan to Prasae reservoir in Rayong; water diversion from Khlong Luang in Chachoengsao to Bangphra reservoir in Chon Buri; and water diversion from Wang Tanode in Chanthaburi to Prasae reservoir.

The first project is estimated to supply 150,000 cubic metres a day, while the second project can supply 3 million cu m a day. The third water diversion is estimated to help supply 10-35 million cu m a day.

The water supply in the EEC will be more than sufficient if there is rainfall in June, Mr Kanit said, adding that water demand in EEC areas is about 2.4 billion cu m a year.

The cabinet also approved a long-term water management plan covering 53 water development projects worth a combined 52.8 billion baht.

Industry permanent secretary Kobchai Sungsitthisawad warned that this year's drought is projected as the worst in a decade and is already taking a toll on factories.

There remains just 35 million cu m of water to feed the industrial sector in Rayong, Chon Buri and Chachoengsao, the three host provinces of the EEC.

The government has sought cooperation from the business sector to reduce its water usage by 10%, but the measure may not be enough if the drought continues through the rainy season.

State officials also asked for cooperation from Eastern Water Resources Development and Management Plc to find new water reserves to supply industrial estates in the EEC area.

Somchint Pilouk, the governor of the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT), expressed concerns that the drought could hamper operations in the EEC, home to 6,033 factories.

As a short-term measure, the IEAT may seek business cooperation to reduce water usage by 10%, explore additional water reserves and seek water treatment.

The IEAT is conducting a feasibility study of investing in a seawater reverse osmosis system to produce freshwater as part of efforts to tackle water shortages in the long run.

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