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Drought Is Not A Disaster Says Deputy Prime Minister

The National Water Resources Committee (NWRC) is confident it doesn’t need to declare the current drought a national disaster.

On Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, who is also the NWRC chairman, after meeting officials said “The dry season will end by the end of next month and so far, the authority has been able to manage the water resources quite well”.

During the past few months, the government has applied nine measures to combat the drought, including the development of groundwater resources and tightening control over water consumption in water-intensive rice cropping and other crop harvesting in the Chao Phraya River basin.

Office of the National Water Resources (ONWR) secretary-general, Somkiat Prajamwong, said the meeting also discussed other measures to cope with the impending rainy season.

Among them is a plan to establish inter-river basin committees to divert and manage floodwater, monitor large dams and reservoirs, remove or modify structures like bridges or roads that impede water drainage, plus canal dredging.

The ONWR will finalise its plans for cabinet approval by next month.

Among them is a proposal to redevelop the Saen Saeb canal, which links the Chao Phraya to Prachin Buri and Chachoengsao provinces.

Key goals of the plan are to develop the canal for transportation, reduce water pollution and develop landscaping along its banks. The plan would run from this year to 2028, covering short and long-term projects.

Thursday’s meeting also created a subcommittee to solve saltwater intrusion, flooding and water shortages along the Gulf of Thailand’s coastal plains – the Chao Phraya River basin, Tha Chin River basin, Bang Pakong River basin and Mae Klong River basin.

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