Irrigation Department may cancel Khao Maikaew reservoir expansion

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The Royal Irrigation Department may cancel plans to expand the Mapwaisom Reservoir in Khao Maikaew in the face of protests from displaced residents.

Neighbors complained at a Sept. 13 hearing that project is not only unnecessary, but that the government has low-balled compensation payments to be given to residents who would have to move to accommodate the 1,200 rai of digging.

Residents representative Kanoksak Nimanong tells Irrigation Department Construction Office officials there is no need to kick them out of their homes. Residents representative Kanoksak Nimanong tells Irrigation Department Construction Office officials there is no need to kick them out of their homes.

Residents representative Kanoksak Nimanong told Irrigation Department Construction Office official Anuwat Buajan that the expansion wouldn’t be necessary if the government moves forward with the 30 million baht project to deepen the much-larger Mabprachan Reservoir.

“Mabprachan has never been used to its fullest capacity and now the government wants to dig the reservoir deeper to increase its capacity,” Kanoksak said. “This is not a beneficial project and funds will be spent for no reason.”

Furthermore, Kanoksak added, the government has only offered 50,000-260,000 baht per rai to displaced residents while those living and owning businesses on the land believe their land and improvements to it are worth 1 million baht per rai.

At the hearing, Anuwat attempted to convince the approximately 150 residents attending that expansion of Mabprachan, Mapwaisom and nearby Huay Khainow reservoirs were all needed to satisfy the demands of Pattaya’s hotels, businesses and residents for hard water.

“No matter how much digging is done, there is never enough water to fill the tank,” Anuwat said. “This will help solve water scarcity issues.”

The 100 residents who likely would be displaced by the project appeared unconcerned about the needs of Pattaya tourists in the face of losing their homes and business and Irrigation Department officials dejectedly said they’d inform their superiors of the opposition with a recommendation to cancel the project.

The fate of the Huay Khainow project remains to be determined.