Thursday, May 28, 2009

Revitalization of Korean rivers to help block water disasters

Korea Times: An Chang-ho ― a revered Korean independence leader during the Japanese occupation ― called for renovation of national territory so that mountains will be filled with trees and rivers affluent with freshwater, and along the rivers commerce, agriculture and industry will flourish. It must have been words of inspiration for President Lee Myung-bak who initiated the ``Revitalization of the four major rivers'' as one of the key projects under the $38.5-billion ``Green New Deal.''

Climate change is being found in all areas of life ― from weather and agriculture to fisheries. Undoubtedly, however, the negative effects of climate change are most evident in the area of water. Water-related disasters, such as flood and drought, are increasing in numbers and intensity. The annual social cost from flood has increased 15 times since the 1970s.

The government spends an average of 5.3 trillion won per year on flood-related costs, of which 79 percent is on restoration. Water scarcity is also becoming an alarming issue. It is expected that Korea will be short of 0.8 billion cubic meters in 2011, and 1 billion cubic meters by 2016.

Building climate resilience, improving water quality and access to water, while at the same time creating jobs in times of economic depression, will definitely be in line with the paradigm of green growth set as the national vision of Korea on Aug. 15, 2008…..

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