In a few months, Thailand will face another rainy season. Its a little more than just rain this time around after most Thais have been badly affected by the most recently round of flooding.
The public is afraid the rain will bring with it another flood crisis. Until now, months after the formation of the 2 big committees, set up to combat and protect Thailand from future floods, have come up with zilch. Fueling the fire of doubt is a report of a rift within the Strategic Committee for Water Resources Management SCWRM. Certain members of the committee have threatened to quit on many occasions.
Smith Thammasaroj, one of the committee members, has divulged that the SCRWRM has no real plan even though its 350 billion baht budget has already been approved. Moreover, no recommendations from the experts were integrated into Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatras flood master plan.
Smith warns that Thailand will certainly face another major flood in May or June this year while the government has yet to take any preventive action.
He has also pointed out that currently, the Bhumipol Dam is at 90 percent of its full capacity and there is no reason why it should be so. Meanwhile Pramote Maiklad, who is another committee member and former Royal Irrigation Department director-general, argues that only 50 percent of the water in Bhumipol and Sirikit dams can be used to irrigate 23 provinces downstream that rely off season farming. These two conflicting statements have clearly demonstrated a lack or coordination within the SCWRM, particularly on the water management of the two major dams.
This is worrisome because it shows that the committee members themselves appear as though they have no clue. The major flood disaster in 2011 had inflicted a great deal of damage on all sectors of the economy. Even though exports were only momentarily suspended, some markets are now lost to Thailand permanently. The government should have learned its lessons that everyone must work together in order for Thailand to get through this watery obstacle. Most importantly, those tasked with the national water management must first stop quarreling among themselves.
Taken from Editorial Section, Dailynews, Page 3, January 30, 2012
Translated and Rewritten by Kongkrai Maksrivorawan
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