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Thai government eyes setting up ‘water ministry’

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The government is in the process of establishing a new ministry to deal mainly with the country’s water problems for the sake of unity and efficiency, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said on Thursday.

He said management of water resources involves at least 38 state agencies and several laws but many problems have remained unsolved.

“The government really needs to upgrade its water management, and this requires the establishment of a [new] ministry to tackle water-related crises and security issues in the near future,” Prawit said.

During an online meeting with relevant agencies on Thursday, the deputy premier assigned the Office of the National Water Resources (ONWR), the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) and other agencies to draft a bill on forming the new ministry and complete the task within 30 days.

The agencies were also assigned to draft a blueprint to improve the current mechanism for managing the country’s water resources and address the structural issues involving the law and budget.

Prawit chaired the videoconference of the national committee on water resource management policies, with representatives from the ONWR, TDRI and other relevant agencies participating.

A study prepared by the ONWR and TDRI concluded that Thailand will have high demand for water in future while supplies are limited and depend largely on weather conditions.

It was found the country’s water management lacked unity and systematic integration in terms of authority, project planning and budget, as there were too many agencies responsible.

The participants at the meeting agreed in principle to strengthen the ONWR and upgrade it to become a ministry in the future for an expanded role that covers both supply and demand.

Published : June 23, 2022