The scarcer the water supply, the more frequent disputes between provincial governments will become. The serious drought this winter season could further fuel such disputes. Korea must enact basic water laws and establish an organization to comprehensively manage water resources if necessary. For the country to come up with legal and institutional measures for this, the central and provincial governments must work together.
Ultimately, Korea must increase its supply of clean water. About two thirds of annual precipitation comes in summer. So the country must urgently increase its capacity to collect and store seasonal precipitation rather than let it flow again. The government must actively consider building dams that can help store water. While carefully examining the impact of dams on the environment, the government should not be swayed by the argument objectively lacking logic and wasting time. Improving water quality through a new state project designed to streamline the four major rivers will be helpful toward this effort. The people should also recognize the severity of the water shortage and strive to save water in their daily lives.
The first paragraph quoted cites conventional wisdom and makes the same statements one could find anywhere in the world. I am concerned, however, by the expectation that legal measures will solve the problem. In addition to the historic examples of the law being ignored in similar cases is the diplomatic situation. Water for inland Gangwon Province and even Seoul itself comes form North Korea. I hope a solution can be found.
It is the second paragraph that I find more interesting. Increasing a supply of clean water might be possible, although the solution suggested (damming) will only supply more water (critically absent is the adjective 'clean').
Quickly, damming has it's own problems. Chiefly, dams silt up so they don't hold much extra water for long but do change areas up- and down- stream in ecologically unfriendly ways.
Alright, back to Clean water. GI Korea might well be the best source for the problem with his '2000 Yongsan Water Dumping Scandal' post. Well, he is more interested in the Yongsan scandal himself, but his main point is that up to 60 gallons of formaldehyde were dumped into the Han River, causing a huge PR mess for the US Army. Around the same time, as the GI quotes, "It is shocking news that 29 timber companies were found to have released 271 tons of formalin over the past three years into streams feeding the Han River, the main source of drinking water for Seoul and Kyonggi Province." (Korea Times, 2nd Article).
Ah, more later. I don't know how ironic this is, but my son and I are going to a Water park, Waterpia.
LATER: We had a great time at Waterpia but my enjoyment was somewhat disturbed by thinking about the water shortages in Gangwon. I think I covered all I wanted to in this post. This is as good a place as any to end.
previously at Gangwon Notes and Brian in Jeollamnam-do.