Mae Hong Son locals protest project that would divert water to Bhumibol dam

Locals in Mae Hong Son have protested a proposal to divert water from a local river to the Bhumibol Dam in Tak Province.

The proposed Yuam-Salawin diversion project would see the construction of a dam on the Yuam River in Sop Moei, a pumping station and a 61.52-kilometer tunnel to transport water to Thailand’s largest dam via Chiang Mai.

The 80 billion baht project would take seven years to construct, affect at least 25 households and result in the loss of around 3,700 rai (1,462 acres/ 592 hectares) of forested land. The project is expected to feed 1.79 billion cubic meters of water a year into the Bhumibol Dam with excess water allowed to flow into the Chao Phraya River for the use of farmers downstream.

Locals opposing the project are claiming that the impact would be far larger than claimed, that it would upset hill tribe villages, that the dam would limit traffic on the river and that compensation for the loss of land and housing is not adequate.