BANGKOK, Jan 6 – Thailand’s Strategic Committee for Water Resources Management meeting on Friday approved eight strategic plans and initially prepared two million rai for holding water following the country’s worst flood in decades last year which devastated vast areas of the kingdom and have left more than 600 people dead.
Chairing the meeting, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra urged related personnel to be clearly assigned to take charge and appropriately manage each plan before going forward with a budget framework.
The plans are expected to be submitted to the cabinet next week.
The schemes include a forest and ecosystem restoration plan with related forest bills to be drafted; annual water management proposals for the whole country, including major dams to prevent future floods; flood embankments development for existing buildings for efficient drainage and water resistance; data and meteorological warning system improvement with a national water information system centre established to link with related agencies.
Other strategies include solution plans in case of immediate floods in significant areas such as communities, industrial estates and national heritage sites; a proposal on which designated areas to receive floodwaters to protect other important places along with measures to provide special compensation for those shouldering the burden; a plan to set up an integrated water management organisation which can immediately make decisions in time of crises; and lastly a scheme to create the understanding of mega water management procedures and priorities among all sectors through participation and acceptance.
Regarding water-retention areas for long-term flood prevention, the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry initially estimated that it will require at least two million rai of land, so that the ministry must seek cooperation from landowners, according to committee secretary Wichien Chavalit.