The Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Office looks set to implement a public-private partnership (PPP) deal for seawater desalination projects at Map Ta Phut and Pattaya worth a combined 7.7 billion baht to ensure sufficient water supply in the EEC areas.
A meeting of EEC sub-committees on Wednesday, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow, greenlighted the EEC Office to implement the deal.
The joint investment project at Map Ta Phut will be handled by the EEC Office and the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT), while the Pattaya project will be jointly implemented by the EEC Office and Pattaya Municipality.
The PPP projects are expected to help supply 200,000 cubic metres of water per day to the EEC in 2027, rising to 300,000 cu m per day in 2037.
Desalination is an artificial process through which saline water -- usually sea water -- is converted into fresh water. The most common desalination processes are distillation and reverse osmosis.
Kanit Sangsubhan, secretary-general of the EEC Office, said the seawater desalination projects would help prevent possible water shortages in the EEC area if an extreme drought were to take place.
According to a study conducted by the Office of the National Water Resources, demand for water in the EEC is expected to reach 2.9 billion cu m in 2027, and up to 3 billion cu m in 2037.
"Based on the water development plan in the EEC, water supply is sufficient except in the case of extreme drought," said Mr Kanit. "The agency therefore needs to prepare ahead the seawater desalination schemes to curb future water shortages in EEC areas. Water supply is very important in terms of creating confidence among investors."
Mr Kanit said a sub-committee also on Wednesday acknowledged guidelines to develop an ecosystem for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and drones which are expected to be widely used within the EEC over the next 1-2 years.
The Aeronautical Radio of Thailand (Aerothai) will help the EEC to conduct a development plan for UAS and drones in the EEC, he said.
Some 700,000 drones are expected to be used in Thailand over the next five years, 80% of which will be used in areas within the EEC.