Building small dams or reservoirs to store water in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phrae and Nan would help provinces in the lower North to reduce the impact of floods
Minister Preecha Rengsomboon said yesterday he had told the Water Resources Department to study water management in 25 basins, especially in nine provinces – Sukhothai, Phrae, Nan, Uttaradit, Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan, Ubon Ratchathani, Yala and Pattani – as they needed urgent measures to tackle flooding.
The ministry will spend Bt200 billion to support water management projects and extend irrigation districts.
The scheme was worked out by the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) and included in the 11th NESD Plan. Its implementation must be environmentally and ecologically friendly while involving full-scale public |participation through involvement of the government, private and public sectors. Only 28 million of the 320 million rai of land in farming and residential areas is sufficiently irrigated with regular amounts – with 75,500 million cubic metres (units) – of water in dams, reservoirs and irrigation gates. Once the scheme is implemented, there will be another 34 million rai of irrigated land and another 26,600 million units of water available each year.
The entire scheme, which should cost Bt1.731 trillion over the four-year period of the 11th NESD Plan which begins next year, will also make another 35m rai of land available adjacent to the 34m rai available during the seasonal or annual peak tides.
The basins are divided into groups in accordance with geographic locations. But no details have been given on which will be implemented, in what order or if there are any preferences.
Water management to prevent flooding will top the agenda for the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry to try to mitigate damage from disasters.
However, he said the ministry would not step forward [as yet] to construct Kaeng Sue Ten Dam in Phrae to prevent flooding in Sukhothai and lower northern regions.
“We need to conduct studies to find out how the dam will benefit local people and prevent flooding,” Preecha explained.
“The Kaeng Sue Ten Dam would not be the only solution to prevent flooding in Sukhothai and other provinces in the lower northern region.”
“We must [learn more about] the direction of water to see how we can handle flooding,” he said.