Gov’t to conduct impact assessment on water project

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The government will conduct an environmental health impact assessment (EHIA) for the mega water management project as ruled by the Administrative Court, a senior official said.

Plodprasop Suraswadi, National Water and Flood Management Policy (NWFMP) chairman, said the public hearings, including organizing exhibitions and public forums on water, should take not more than two months.

Regarding the court’s order for the environmental surveys, he said the national water committee will compile details and locations of all projects including the construction of 18 dams and two floodways to be submitted to the Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning Office together with the results of the environmental surveys.

The EHIAs will be done by consulting firms and academic institutions and projects which are not feasible will be scrapped, he said, adding that completion of the water management project will be slightly delayed.

He said loans for the Bt350 billion project will be done in accord with legal procedures and there is no interest as long as borrowing has not begun.

The Administrative Court on Thursday suspended the water management project pending an EHIA – a verdict made less than a week after the government announced four bid winners, including the controversial Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-Water), for the heavily-criticized water project.

The court’s ruling was made following a lawsuit by the Anti-Global Warming Association which charged the government with giving a green light to the water management master plan without an EHIA.

Plodprasop said the prime minister would be asked to set up a legal committee to decide if the government should appeal the court’s ruling.