Deputy Prime Minister Somsak Thepsutin wants to upgrade the Office of National Water Resources (ONWR) and turn it into the Ministry of Water Resources.
He revealed the proposal during his opening speech at the Communication Integration Seminar on Water Management Plans at the Rama Garden Hotel on Monday.
It was held to discuss how to handle this year’s El Nino weather phenomenon.
Mr Somsak led the seminar as chairman and joined ONWR secretary-general Surasee Kittimonthon, as well as representatives from related sectors.
Regarding turning the ONWR into a ministry, Mr Somsak said the idea was raised following a discussion he had with an adviser to the National Water Resource Committee chairman, as both agreed on how important water management was to the nation.
Deputy Prime Minister Somsak Thepsutin
“The problem of water management should be tackled as a whole, as it could affect the nation adversely in many ways,” he said.
According to Mr Somsak, the government has placed a priority on water resource management in a way that has led to a better balance in water usage nationwide.
This year, experts expect to see a bigger drought crisis in some areas, especially for those in need of water for agricultural purposes. They said this would be the result of the effects of the El Nino phenomenon intensifying in the next two years. However, more downpours have been seen at the end of this rainy season and added to water kept in reservoirs have seen dams storing up to at least 70% of their capacity, which meant that the nation had a sufficient amount of water for this year, said Mr Somsak.
Nevertheless, Mr Somsak said that Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin was still concerned about the water situation overall, as it might affect the operations of many industries.
He also visited a water management exhibition, and during a Department of National Parks Wildlife and Plant Conservation presentation, he suggested constructing reservoir barriers to help ease flooding in some areas.