THE CABINET has given approval in principle to nine flood- and drought-prevention plans in the Lower Chao Phraya River Basin, with the full details and budget of the projects to be submitted for its consideration next week.
The Bt200 billion water management plan was considered at the mobile Cabinet meeting in Ayutthaya yesterday, where members called for further details and designs to be submitted. The plan includes several large irrigation projects to tackle water issues in the region, including construction of the Bang Ban-Bang Sai water-drainage canal.
Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister General Chatchai Sarikulya said the National Water Resource Committee (NWRC) would have to summarise details of all the projects and present them to the Cabinet again for consideration.
Chatchai said Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha also ordered the NWRC to study the effects of the proposals and their connection to the nationwide water management plan, because it was a very big plan that would cost a large sum of money.
The committee’s secretary and Water Resources Department director-general, Worasart Aphaiphong, said that, upon approval, the relevant agencies would progress with the proposals based on the urgency and necessity of each project.
Worasart gave an assurance that the plan would progress carefully to avoid redundancy and ensure the budget was spent efficiency.
The Bang Ban-Bang Sai canal project would be the first priority, as it would significantly improve water-drainage capacity of the Chao Phraya River in Ayutthaya during flood season and would effectively tackle flood problems in the lower Chao Phraya River Basin.
According to the Royal Irrigation Department, the project owner, the canal will be 22.4 kilometres long and will run parallel to the Chao Phraya on the western side. The canal will have a capacity to drain water at up to 1,200 cubic metres per second. It is expected to solve water-drainage problems with the Chao Phraya in Ayutthaya, where the river is narrow and can only drain water at around 800–1,200 cubic metres per second.
It is estimated that this project will cost about Bt17.6 billion and will require the expropriation of about 3,500 rai (560 hectares) of land in Ayutthaya.