Saturday, January 19, 2013

Audit slams Sour Korea's $20 billion river project

Space Daily: South Korea's state auditor on Friday panned President Lee Myung-Bak's $20 billion effort to dredge, dam and beautify four major rivers, saying it was riddled with costly flaws. Revitalising the Han, Nakdong, Geum and Yeongsan rivers was the centrepiece of the outgoing president's "Green New Deal", a bold plan to create jobs after the 2008 global downturn.

Started in 2009, the 22.2 trillion won ($20.1 billion) project saw the construction of 16 weirs and dams along the four rivers that were straightened and dredged to improve water quality and prevent flooding. But a report by the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) suggested the three-year effort had fallen far short.

"Due to faulty designs, 11 out of 16 dams lack sturdiness, water quality is feared to deteriorate... and excessive maintenance costs will be required," the report said. The government minister in charge of the project, Kwon Do-Youp, insisted that additional work to repair structural weaknesses was already close to completion...

Overlooking the Han River, shot by elaine ross baylon, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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