Bt2.2 tn water diversion project to be proposed

Bt2.2 tn water diversion project to be proposed

AGRICULTURE Minister Chatchai Sarikalya will seek the National Water Board approval for two projects that would divert water from the Mae Yuam and Mekong rivers and require a total budget of Bt2.2 trillion.
If approved by the board's chair, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Chatchai said the projects' first phrase could commence early next year - just in time to boost water capital in the face of a 2016-17 drought season predicted to be worse than the latest drought season due to the El Nino phenomenon.

The country's water capital for the 2016-17 drought season was earlier predicted to be 2 billion cubic metres less than the current amount, he said, but the government's water retention construction projects should result in the water reserve rising.

The two projects - to be proposed as part of the water resource management strategy 2016 - are being studied by the Royal Irrigation Department and that process should be completed by year's end, Chatchai said.

The Mae Yuam project is expected to add 2 billion cubic metres of water to Bhumibol Dam in its first phase. The Mekong River project is expected to add about 40 billion cubic metres in total, starting off with the Lampao Dam in its first phase, he added.

Chatchai said the projects' first-phrase construction would cost more than the Bt100 billion earmarked in a previous study.

He said the 2015-16 drought had resulted in the country's four major dams - Bhumibol, Sirikit, Pasak Jolasid and Kwai Noi Bamrungdaen - yielding only 3,700 milion cubic metres for use.

He said if the El Nino effect got worse as predicted there would be little rainfall and the water capital would shrink, posing water management difficulties.

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