Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi has stressed that Thailand will be able to change the flood crisis in 2011 into an opportunity for improving water management.
Speaking in the weekly program “Yingluck Government Meets the People” on 18 May 2013, Mr. Plodprasop touched on the issue of the 2nd Asia-Pacific Water Summit in Chiang Mai province, scheduled for 14-20 May 2013. He also referred to the prolonged and widespread flooding in Thailand in 2011.
He pointed out that damage from the flooding was estimated at 1.4 trillion baht and that Thailand had never had an integrated water management system to cope with the situation. The Government has therefore come up with an integrated approach to water management and flood prevention, which would also deal with drought.
Mr. Plodprasop explained that the plan is part of Thailand’s management as well, so that the best water management system would be put in place. The plan involves an investment of 350 billion baht, or 11.5 billion US dollars, in a well-integrated water management infrastructure and flood prevention system.
He said that relevant agencies would have to adjust their regular budget allocations to be in line with the 350-billion-baht investment plan. Earlier, he said, these agencies had their own ways to deal with water problems. From now on, they will need to work closely together and cooperate with the Ministry of Transport in ensuring that road construction would not block water channels.
According to the Rapid Assessment and Resilient Recovery and Reconstruction Planning report, prepared by the World Bank, the total damage and losses from the 2011 floods in Thailand amounted to 1.43 trillion baht, or 46.5 billion US dollars. The manufacturing sector bore roughly 70 percent of the total damage and losses. Overall, about 90 percent of the damage and losses from the 2011 floods were borne by the private sector.
As part of its water management plan, the Government has established a single command center for unified operations in water management. The single command authority is responsible for coordinating water management work, and 17 agencies dealing with water management in the country are now working in the center.
The water management plan is divided into four phases: protection, preparation, response, and recovery.
Regarding long-term solutions, the Government had issued a royal decree empowering the Ministry of Finance to seek a loan of 350 billion baht for water management on a sustainable basis. It had worked out Thailand’s water management strategies and invited interested local and foreign consulting firms to propose plans for Thailand’s overall water management.
The Government has also adopted His Majesty the King’s advice on effective water management as guidelines for the country’s water management in the future.