A few years ago Thailand experienced the worst floods in over half a century, which led to the submersion of two thirds of the country’s 77 provinces and a death toll of around 600 people. The floods were caused by heavy monsoon rains and a series of tropic storms. This has led to the disruption of Thailand’s economy and destruction of many public and private properties. To protect its citizens from such occurrences in the future, the government of Thailand has endeavored to set up a number of watershed management programs.

 

To start with, the Strategic Committee for Water Resource Management has approved guidelines on the conservation and rehabilitation of watershed areas, in addressing sustainable water management. The committee had a meeting on December 6th in which they discussed short and long term measures for water resource management. The general consensus on short term operations was for the committee to liaise with the Japan International Cooperation Agency in setting up a data system, which would be able to track information on estimated water volumes for next year. This would help to boost the confidence on Thai capabilities at flood detection and control measures, among citizens and foreign investors. The committee also sought to establish a comprehensive water drainage system, especially for industrial estates and communities. An emphasis was placed on city planning, with the aim to prevent and control floods. As far as a long term flood prevention and control measures a concerned, the committee agreed to set up a subcommittee tasked with the duty of conservation and rehabilitation of watershed areas. The subcommittee was given the mandate to start its operations, in line with the master plan for water resource management.

 

In the meantime, cabinet sought to support those measures through the establishment of a secretariat to the Strategic Committee for Reconstruction and Future Development, to operate as an agency within the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board. Cabinet also approved a kitty of 150 million Baht, from the 2012 national budget. In a bid to stimulate foreign expert assistance, in recovery and rehabilitation programs, government will waive fees and facilitate applications for visas and work permits fees.