The Government will establish the Office of the Strategic Committee for Water Resources Management to coordinate related plans, guidelines, measures, and budget allocations in an integrated manner. The new office will be under the Secretariat of the Prime Minister.
The decision was made at the first meeting of the Strategic Committee for Water Resources Management, chaired by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at Government House on November 22. This committee, with Dr. Sumet Tantivejkul, Secretary-General of the Chaipattana Foundation, as advisor, was formed when the flooding was at its peak recently.
Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister, Mr. Kittiratt Na-Ranong, said that the first meeting of the Strategic Committee for Water Resources Management discussed and analyzed the flooding situation. Since members of the committee shared the view that this committee should operate quickly, they agreed to set up two subcommittees to help in their operations. The first subcommittee, headed by the former Permanent Secretary for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Mr. Petipong Pungbun Na Ayudhya, will handle urgent tasks. The second subcommittee, headed by the former Director-General of the Royal Irrigation Department, Mr. Kitcha Polparsi, will introduce a sustainable system for water resources management.
Mr. Kittiratt said that the committee would invite experts from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to serve as advisors to the committee. He said that several countries and international organizations had also offered useful advice on the strategic planning of water management. The two subcommittees would also consider the advice and the expertise of those countries and organizations in conducting international cooperation.
The Secretary-General of the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board, Mr. Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, who is also a member of the committee, said that a fact-finding study would be undertaken soon about the causes of this flood and weaknesses in dealing with the situation. The study would come up in the next three to four months with guidelines for solutions to the problem. It would also ensure that the severe flooding situation would not reoccur during the rainy season next year.
In addition, measures concerning city planning will be implemented to prohibit the construction of structures that might block the flow of water. Apart from flood protection, the meeting also discussed the evacuation of people from the flood disaster, saying that it was an important issue and needed preparedness, as well.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet, during its meeting on November 22, approved 2.65 billion baht to assist flood-hit people. Out of this amount, 1.25 billion baht will be allocated to 25 flood-stricken provinces and the remaining 1.4 billion baht to various agencies for use in activities and projects as part of flood assistance.