August 21, 2013 00:00
By Piyanart Srivalo
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has called for all stakeholders to team up together to resolve the world's water problems.
“Unfortunately, nearly a billion people around the world cannot access clean water,” she said.
Yingluck was delivering her speech to the High Level International Conference on Water Cooperation in the Republic of Tajikistan and told of Thailand’s efforts at water management.
She was invited by President Emomalii Rahmon of Tajikistan who earlier paid an official visit to Thailand and attended the 2nd Asia-Pacific Water Summit in May.
Representatives from over 30 countries are taking part in the conference.
Citing a World Development Report, Yingluck said by the year 2030, about 47 percent of the world's population would be living in areas with serious water problems.
“ [They] would be the main cause of several political conflicts and war in the near future,” she said. Yingluck quoted the World Metrological Organisation as reporting that climate change and natural disasters like floods and tsunamis – as well as rising global temperatures and sea levels – would also be a threat to human life around the world.
“ We cannot live in this world in the midst of fear of natural disaster. That's why we need to help each other to handle these challenges before it is too late,” she said.
The PM said Thailand would invest $US12 billion (Bt379 billion) to build a water management project based on the restoration of the ecosystem balance concept.
The government would also manage water resources for agricultural and industrial sectors.
Under this scheme, floodways and natural canals would be used to manage Thailand’s water resources. Forest restoration is also a top priority to mitigate the impact of soil erosion.
Yingluck said Thailand was developing a water and flood information centre to predict weather conditions and flood waterflow. Real time satellite imaging, closed circuit television, and computer modelling will enhance the capacity to predict and prevent natural disasters.
The PM said Thailand would support the integrated water and related resources management-based Basin Development Strategy run by the Mekong River Commission. It was aimed at managing the water resources in Lan Chang and the Mekong River which is the longest waterway in the Southeast Asia region.