Royally initiated projects to be opened today useful to half-a-million-rai farmland

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BANGKOK, 7 July 2012 – The five royally-initiated irrigation projects to be officially opened by His Majesty the King today are of great benefits to farmers, enabling the second rice cropping in 500,000 rai of farmland.

Director-General of the Royal Irrigation Department Lertviroj Kowattana says the five irrigation projects are located in different parts of the country, but they will be opened simultaneously by His Majesty the King in one ceremony to be held at the Royal Irrigation Department in Bangkok this evening with the aid of video conferencing technology.

One of the projects is in the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat. His Majesty has graciously named it ‘U-Thokkawipat Prasit Water Gate’, meaning ability to divide fresh and salt water. It is located in the Pak Phanang River basin and serves to prevent salt water from intruding into the Pak Phanang River. The project thus helps people to have sufficient water for agriculture and consumption. It enables them to plant the second rice crops in the drought season over a combined area of 200,000 rai, compared to only 50,000 rai before the construction of the water gate. The project also efficiently relieves the flood problem in the basin.

Two other projects are in the Northeast. One of them is the Lamphayoung Phumiphat Water Diverting Tunnel in Kalasin. Built across the Lam Phayoung River, the project consists of a reservoir with a storage capacity of 4 million cubic meters of water and a 710-meter-long tunnel to divert water to the reservoir. It supplies water to usually arid land in the province, expanding cultivation areas by more than 16,000 rai. The other project in this northeastern region is the Thoranit Naruemit Water Gate in Nakhon Phanom, which has the capacity to store 16 million cubic meters of water, helping irrigate 16,500 rai of cultivation areas. It also reduces flash flood hazards.

The fourth project to be officially opened on Saturday is the Khwae Noi Bamrung Daen Dam in Phitsanulok Province in the lower North of Thailand. The project is built with a capacity to store nearly one billion cubic meters of water, helping irrigate 440,000 rai of agricultural land and reducing flood risks in the lower Chao Phraya basin. The final project involves a dam in the central province of Nakhon Nayok. The dam has been named by His Majesty as Khun Dan Prakan Chon, meaning the wall that keeps water in. The 225 million cubic meters of water stored inside the dam are supplied to nearly 200,000 rai of agricultural land in the lower part of the Nakhon Nayok river basin and another 60,000 rai in the dry season. It also relieves the problem of acid soil and floods in the region.