Water authority to seek B150bn for new projects

Water authority to seek B150bn for new projects

The Office of the National Water Resources (ONWR) is seeking a 150-billion-baht budget to fund 13 major water management projects over five years starting later this year, the office's secretary-general said on Friday.

An official briefs a team, led by deputy Bangkok governor Chakkaphan Phewngam, during a visit yesterday to a drainage tunnel under the Klong Bang Sue canal. It is designed to drain excess water from Klong Lat Phrao into the Chao Phraya River. Pornprom Satrabhaya

Speaking after a meeting of the government's sub-committee on water resource management strategies chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Chatchai Sarikulya, Somkiat Prajamwong, the ONWR secretary-general, said the office will soon submit details of the projects to the cabinet.

The 13 projects are two water tunnel construction projects in Bangkok, 10 water management projects under the care of the Royal Irrigation Department, and a project to construct a new reservoir in Chanthaburi province in the Eastern Economic Corridor.

The Chanthaburi reservoir will have a capacity of more than 60 million cubic metres and is now in the process of undergoing an environmental impact assessment (EIA), said Mr Somkiat.

The budget for this project alone is estimated to be between 2 billion and 3 billion baht, he said.

The budget to fund all these projects, described by Mr Somkiat as "large and important", will be sought as additional budget, while those projects that may be large but aren't seen as high priority will be funded by the usual budget, he said.

All the 13 projects will definitely pass the EIA and environmental health impact assessment (EHIA) before their implementation, he said.

Gen Chatchai, meanwhile, said the government's sub-committee on water resource management strategies also decided to adjust its 12-year water management strategic plan and turn it into a 20-year plan instead, to bring it into line with some associated key areas in the government's newly adopted development policy.

They are sustainable growth in the green economy, the development of agricultural communities, eco-industry, water security and environmentally friendly agricultural energy, he said.

The implementation of the 12-year plan began in 2015 and when it is adjusted to be a 20-year plan, its implementation will kick off later this year, he said.

This, however, doesn't mean the 12-year version of the water plan will be ditched, he said, adding that the new 20-year plan will instead be drafted based on the core elements of the 12-year plan while more elements will be added, he added.

Other elements that are being considered include water consumption, water management in both the agricultural and industrial sectors, flood management, seasonal drought management, water quality management, watershed forest preservation and management, and a roadmap for implementing the 20-year plan.

Gen Chatchai said opinions on the strategy will be sought from members of the public and academics.

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