Water plan to tackle many problems
Twenty-year plan sets clear goals for management of resources
THE CABINET has approved a 20-year master plan for water-management and water-disaster prevention. The 2018-2037 national plan was passed with the aim of providing wider access to clean drinking water, an expansion in irrigation infrastructure and areas under irrigation, and preventing floods and droughts in core economic areas.
Somkiat Prajumwong, secretary-general of the Office of National Water Resources (ONWR), said yesterday that the 20-year master plan provides water-resource management guidelines for all related agencies.
He said the plan is divided into water for domestic consumption, stable water supply, disaster prevention, conservation of resources, restoring forest water sources, and water resource administration and management.
He said the government has set the goal of ensuring that 75,032 more villages have access to clean drinking water by 2030, expand water reserves by 27.299 billion cubic metres, expand irrigation to 31 million rai (4.96 million hectares) and develop 10,000 water sources for agriculture.
To achieve the water-disaster mitigation goal, 764 core economic areas and 15 million rai |of land must be protected from floods and drought, while 741 new wastewater treatment facilities must be built to tackle |the water-pollution problem.
Somkiat said the 20-year blueprint also aims to restore 3.5 million rai of forest water and construct 541,894 weirs as ways to conserve water.
“The ONWR will be the core administrative agency to implement the 20-year master plan as well as monitor and assess the operation of each related agency to make sure that all the water-resource management goals will be achieved,” he said.
“This new master plan has clear targets to systematically tackle all water problems, for which we are going to work in collaboration not only with related official agencies, but also the private sector and local communities.”
Meanwhile, Kasetsart Univer-sity’s engineering professor Sitang Pilailar said she was optimistic about the plan as it made related authorities focus on water-resource management and provide them with a framework to follow.
However, she pointed out that since the Water Resource Act is already in effect, the ONWR is drafting water-management strategies for every water basin.
“We need to ensure that all stakeholders, especially the locals have a chance to get involved in water-management strategy |in their locality to guarantee that the strategy suits the local demand and type of water usage,” she said.