Salween diversion project enters troubled waters

Over the past few months, the Irrigation Department and the House Committee Review of Integrated River Basin Management have been heavily promoting an inter-basin water diversion scheme. Planned projects will divert water across Thailand, incorporating international river basins, including the Mekong and Salween, to address “water shortages” in Thailand.

It’s a tantalising sell, with promises of “free” water for farmers in the central provinces. But there’s a catch: the scheme’s proposed dam and water pipeline would be built by Chinese state-owned enterprises at no cost — except the right in return to construct hydro-electric dams on the Salween River.

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