The Thai government is speeding up its flood prevention and water management plans to be ready in time for the coming rainy season from June to October.
According to a recent meeting to follow up on the national water management plan, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra urged all relevant agencies to work in unison and utilize the same strategy and information for flood prevention and water management plans.
Minister of Science and Technology, Plodprasop Suraswadi, said that the Prime Minister set three stages for water management. The first stage is the construction of dykes and repair works which is underway and expected to be completed by June 2012.
The second stage is dredging canals, fixing water sluice gates, and building the Kaem Ling - Monkey’s Cheek - water retention systems. The final stage involves dredging canals and making sure that sewerage systems are effective in Bangkok and other provinces in the lower central region. The Government approved a budget of five billion for the flood prevention plans in 31 provinces, from upstream to downstream areas.
The upstream provinces are Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Sukhothai, Uttaradit, Tak, Nan, Phrae, Lampang, Lamphun, and Phayao.
The middle-stream provinces are Phitsanulok, Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani, Phichit, Kamphaeng Phet, and Chai Nat. The downstream provinces include Suphan Buri, Ayutthaya, Prachin Buri, Sing Buri, Ang Thong, Lop Buri, Saraburi, Nakhon Nayok, Nonthaburi, Samut Sakhon, Samut Prakan, Chachoengsao, Nakhon Pathom, Pathum Thani, and Bangkok.
Recently, the Utokapat Foundation - a new water foundation to help in water management under the Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King - has been established, with His Majesty the King’s donation of 84 million baht to the start-up fund. The Government has also adopted His Majesty the King’s advice on water management in an effort to deal effectively with the flooding situation in Thailand.
Meanwhile, the Republic of Korea has shown its willing to help Thailand with water management, in which it has much expertise. The two countries agreed to enhance their ties to be a Strategic Partnership in the near future, after a recent meeting between Prime Minister Yingluck and Mr. Kim Sung-Hwan, the Republic of Korea's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Prime Minister Yingluck also revealed that China would send a team of experts on water management to Thailand in order to help the Government handle the flooding. The two countries will soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the studying of flood and drought prevention plans. This MOU is a cooperative effort between Thailand’s Ministry of Science and Technology and the Chinese Ministry of Commence.