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ONWR proposes project to produce freshwater from seawater in Eastern Economic Corridor


The Office of National Water Resources (ONWR) has proposed a plan to produce freshwater from seawater in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) to prevent water shortage in the area.

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The proposal was made to the National Water Command Centre, which is chaired by Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan, said ONWR deputy secretary-general Samrerng Saengpuwong.

“The ONWR has been working with the Eastern Economic Corridor Committee in studying saltwater distilling techniques in Spain, Singapore, Mexico, Israel, the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, China, the United States, Australia and South Africa,” he said. “Most of them have employed the reverse osmosis technique, which produces drinkable freshwater that has the same quality as tap water.”

Samrerng said current technology permits the production of 136,000-624,000 cubic metres of freshwater per day from static facilities, while some countries such as Japan have invested in mobile distilling facilities capable of producing 1,600-2,000 cubic metres per day per unit.

“In 2020 the EEC recorded total water resources of 2.53 billion cubic metres, with 1.36 billion in local water reservoirs, 597 million from the Chao Phraya basin, 395 million from runoff for the drought season, 100 million in diversion pipes and 79 million in groundwater wells,” he said.

“Total water usage this year is 2.41 billion cubic metres, while in 2027 it is estimated to increase to 2.88 billion and reach more than 3 billion by 2037,” Samrerng said.

“If we can produce 200,000 cubic metres of freshwater from seawater in the EEC, it will increase water capital by 2.2 per cent of total water resources and could support increasing use by several industries in the area,” he said.

“The ONWR estimates that the project could start in 2021 by selecting suitable areas to build a facility, drafting construction plans and preparing to sign a water trading contract with partners. Construction is expected to start by 2022-2023 on an approximate 20 rai of land, while the facility should be operational by 2024,” he added.

Published : December 24, 2020

By : THE NATION