Water demand in the Eastern Economic Corridor will surge as development gathers pace, giving rise to the need for a comprehensive water resources management plan, officials say.
A water resources development and management investment programme for the EEC will be submitted to the national water committee for consideration later this month.
Somkiat Prajamwong, chief of the Office of National Water Resources (ONWR), said the proposal was approved by a megaproject steering committee chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon on Friday, and would be forwarded to the cabinet for approval.
According to Mr Somkiat, areas earmarked for EEC development face the risk of water shortage, so the 20-year plan prepared by the ONWR and related action plans must be carried out to mitigate risks. Water demand in the EEC in 2037 is forecast to reach 3.09 billion cubic metres, an increase of 670 million cu m from 2017, he noted.
The EEC is the government’s flagship investment area, spanning Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao provinces and targeting 12 industries.
Mr Somkiat said that the water plan is divided into two phases. The first phase, from 2020-27, will include the upgrading of six existing reservoirs and the construction of 10 new ones. This is expected to increase the amount of water available by 706 million cu m.
In the second phase, from 2028 to 2037, the goal is to increase the total amount of water by 166 million cu m, he said, adding that the blueprint calls for investments of more than 80 billion baht.
The plan also envisions a study into the production of fresh water from seawater, and the involvement of businesses to build and develop a water reserve system.
The steering committee has also approved a framework for the development of Nong Han lake in Sakon Nakhon between 2020 and 2027. The proposal will go before the national water committee on Dec 20.
The Nong Han water project consists of 69 projects worth 7.4 billion baht, 36 of which have been approved for the first phase in 2021-22, worth 1.14 billion.
According to Mr Somkiat, the committee acknowledged that up to 57 key projects can be carried out in 2022 with 32 projects worth 396 billion baht in the pipeline.
In total, the cabinet has approved 21 projects valued at 107.4 billion baht, including the rehabilitation of Bung Boraphet in Nakhon Sawan and Bung Ratchanok in Phitsanulok.
The rainy season has only been over for a few weeks but the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation ays it has already declared 39 districts Chachoengsao, Chiang Rai, Nakhon Phanom, Kanchanaburi, Maha Sarakham, Bung Kan and Nong Khai as drought-hit areas.