CHIANGRAI TIMES – China will help Thailand create an efficient management plan for the Chao Phraya River basin. The assistance will be provided under an agreement signed with China in the work of Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s visit to the country earlier this month.
Chinese Water Resources Vice-Minister Jiao Yong disclosed the knowledge yesterday as his team began a trip to Thailand. He & other Chinese officials will stay in Thailand until Sunday as guests of Thailand’s Natural Resources & Surroundings Ministry.
Natural Resources & Surroundings Minister Preecha Rengsomboonsuk said China had modern water-resource management laws & an efficient water method.
Thai Water Resources Department director-general Jatuporn Buruspat said Thai officials would speak about how best to manage the Chao Phraya River with Jiao’s team. He said the Chinese officials would cruise along the Mekong River from Chiang Rai’s Chiang Saen district today to check the conditions of this international river.
“Its water owner is comprehensive. All relevant agencies are well integrated ,” Preecha said.
“When drought conditions got serious in 2010, China released water for [use in] Thailand,” he said.
Jiao insisted that China’s dams did not have any adverse impact on the Mekong.
In a related development, environmental group WWF yesterday issued a statement calling on all concerned governments to defer a choice on any dam projects on the Mekong mainstream for at least ten years until proper risk assessment is conducted.
According to Thailand’s Water Crisis Prevention Centre, 48 provinces have been declared drought-hit this year.
The statement also alerted the public to ongoing construction related to the controversial Xayaburi Dam in northern Laos.
At its meeting last December, the Mekong River Commission (MRC) agreed to delay a choice on building the Xayaburi Dam pending further studies on the impacts of the controversial project. However, WWF recently found that land clearance & road development had begun in & around the Xayaburi site.
Dams along the Mekong River are widely condemned as having damaged the ecological balance in the region.
“It is clear that construction workers are onsite,” said Marc Goichot, sustainable hydropower manager of WWF’s Greater Mekong programme. “The Mekong River Commission ought to appoint a group of representatives from its council to visit the proposed dam site to monitor & answer the situation.”