Gov’t launches 6 strategies for sustainable water management, PM says

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Prime Minister and National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Chief Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha revealed in his weekly TV program “Returning Happiness to the People” six strategies of sustainable water management for 2015-2026 the government has drawn up to handle all sorts of water challenges in the country.

Those strategies called for preparation of raw water for the production of tap water in 7,500 rural villages and 700 urban areas nationwide. This project will be implemented during 2015-2017 during which the efficiency of 9,000 existing water supply systems will be improved.

To ensure water security in the production sector, the government will build 369 new water storages, and excavate 50,000 ponds in farmland and 1,285 artesian wells in parallel with the recovery of 895 natural water resources. Gen Prayut said the government plans to expand irrigation areas in the country by 2.2 million rai in 2016, and by 8.7 million rai in 2026 when the strategies expire. By that time, the irrigation system will cover a total land area of 40 million rai, which is 10 million rai higher than the current amount.

On a three-year water management and flood control plan, Gen Prayut explained that the government will improve main water routes and 30 tributaries, stretching more than 75 km. in total, followed by raising 13 embankments to prevent soil erosion and floods.

Water quality is also a major concern. The government will develop 36 wastewater treatment plants and remove solid waste and weeds from 399 water sources nationwide. It will actively ensure salinity control in water supply throughout the whole year.

Gen Prayut said his last strategy involves conservation and rehabilitation of watershed forest areas and prevention of soil erosion. The government will conduct reforestation on a combined area of 25,000 rai and grow vetiver grass on 645,000 rai of land. These projects will be completed by the end of this September.