Thailand and Myanmar Campaigns Director of International Rivers
Pianporn Deetes is Thailand and Myanmar Campaigns Director of International Rivers.
Over the past few months, the Irrigation Department and the House Committee Review of Integrated River Basin Management have been heavily promoting an inter-basin water diversion scheme. Planned projects will divert water across Thailand, incorporating international river basins, including the Mekong and Salween, to address "water shortages" in Thailand.
Muesaw Chokedilok, an ethnic Karen woman from Thailand's Kaburdin Village in Chiang Mai's Omkoi district, hops aboard an old pickup truck for a rugged ride up the mountain. With her are a group of housewives from the same village, all clad in cotton handwoven clothes with beaded lace and colourful headscarves. They are on the way to meet a group of journalists from Bangkok. Their village is at least four hours by car to Muang Chiang Mai.
In mid-June, the Thai military government and its Myanmar counterpart signed a memorandum of understanding on energy, with an eye to expanding Thailand's import of electricity from Myanmar, by up to 10,000 megawatts. The initial agreement also promotes overseas investment by Thai state-owned and public companies in numerous coal and hydropower projects in Myanmar, including the Hat Gyi, Ywathit, and Mong Ton dams on the Salween River. Significantly, these projects are all situated in ethnic states, namely the Shan, Kayah, Karen, and the Tanesserim divisions, which make up some of the country's most vulnerable areas and populations.