By THE NATION
The National Water Resource Committee approved the funding for the projects, the second of which will help to reduce floods in Sukhothai province.
Construction of the two projects will start in 2019, the committee’s secretary-general Somkiat Prajamwogn said yesterday.
Somkiat was speaking after a meeting of the committee, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, gave the go-head for the projects.
In Bangkok, the tunnel under the Prem Pracha Korn Canal will cost Bt9.8 billion and improve the drainage system in parts of the capital. It is scheduled to be completed in 2026.
In Sukhothai, improvement works on the Yom-Nan Canal will cost Bt2.87 billion. This project will reduce flooding and also retain water for agriculture in the province.
The project is due for completion in 2024.
Participants in the meeting also considered investment plans for 2019 to 2022, in line with the master plan to develop the country's water systems.
“Some of these projects under consideration may not be developed if there are limits on the available budget,” Somkiat said. He cited investment of up to Bt103 billion slated for 2020 that may be delayed in the event of budget shortfalls.
However, Prayut has assigned the National Economic and Social Development Board and the Finance Ministry with looking for ways to drive the projects forward under the plan, Somkiat said.
He said the committee had also approved the master plan for water resource management over a 20-year view, in line with the country's master plan. These include measures for how to manage water across the country until 2030.
A key focus is ensuring the sustainability of water supplies for agriculture areas. A third objective is to improve drainage systems nationwide.
A fourth goal concerns water quality and the conservation of water resources. A fifth focus is upstream forest conservation. The final area of attention is the management of the country’s actions that relate to the water management system.