He added that this is one of the components of the master plan to manage the country's water resources over the next 20 years. The first five years of the plan covering the period 2018 to 2022 will see irrigated areas increased by 2.17 million rai. By 2019, the office will have put into place 100 projects costing more than Bt400 billion, increasing the amount of water to 2.9 million cubic metres.
Concrete results from the past four years have led to the management of water for consumption to cover 7,322 villages out of 7,490 villages, representing 98 per cent of the target. The office has also expanded drinking water supply to 679 villages out of the targeted 688 villages, representing 87 per cent of the water security sector.
The office has increased irrigated area by 2.58 million rai from the target of 8.70 million rai or by 30 per cent while the amount of water has gone up by 2.089 billion cubic metres from the targeted 4.8 billion cubic metres or by 44 per cent.
In terms of restoration of water resources, 6,896 agricultural areas irrigated by rainwater have been successfully completed from the 13,842 targeted, accounting for 50 per cent. The office has also been successful in developing water resources to support the special economic zone by 76 million cubic metres out of the 190-million-cubic metre target, representing 40 per cent. The development includes the Narupin Reservoir Project (Huai Somong, a royal initiative) and a water source in Prachinburi province covering up to 111,300 rais of irrigated land. The storage capacity is 295 million cubic metres.
Meanwhile, the cabinet has already approved 19 projects worth Bt85 billion to develop the Bang Ban - Bang Sai drainage project in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province, one of the 9 Chao Phraya river basin flood relief plans. The project is designed to increase the drainage efficiency of the Chao Phraya River and involves the digging of a new drainage canal to divert water from the river as it passes through Bang Ban district to Bang Sai district over a total length of 22.50 kilometres to drain up to 1,200 cubic metres per second.
The office is also developing the Lam Saphung reservoir project, a royal initiative in Chaiyaphum province, to increase water by 47 million cubic metres to cover an additional irrigation area of 40,000 rai. In addition, it has also accelerated the medium and small projects in the area to address flooding problems and repeated drought.
“In line with the 20-year master plan, we are investing an average of Bt100 billion a year. The government has continued to approve the budget for emergency use to solve the country's water problems including water supply for up to 10,000 communities and the development of a solar-powered water system to support agricultural area of 310,670 rais nationwide. This is in addition to our work in improving the country's water management and supporting farmers to have water enough for cultivation,” he said.
Published : July 29, 2019
By : The Nation