RAP publication 1999/40

Building a Self-sufficient Future
Retaining a Heritage
Pa Sak River Basin Development Project

Sunflowers cover both sides of the roadway. Thousand rai of sunflowers in full bloom greet His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej as he arrives to inaugurate the Pa Sak River Basin Development Project. As if they represent the children of today, the mothers and fathers of the families of the future, communities and generations to come, the massed flowers greet His Majesty the King. These are the well-wishers of today, and of the future, whose lives are being graced with the blessing of compassionate and technically sound development. The blossoms signify the arrival of not only the Monarch, but a gracious new way of living with reduced threat of floods and drought - a blessing for an old region in the heart of the kingdom, a blessing from His Majesty the King, a blessing toward self-sufficient living.

Significant Events

Table of Abbreviations and Terms

hectare- 6.25 rai
kg- kilogram(s)
km- kilometre(s)
km2- square kilometre(s)
m- metre(s)
mm- millimetre(s)
m3- cubic metre(s)
m3/sec- cubic metres per second
m3/hr- cubic metres per hour

19 February 1989

HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej initiates the project

9 January 1990

Government approval to conduct feasibility study

10 July 1990

Pa Sak River Basin Development Project office opens

1 July 1992

Feasibility study and environmental impact assessment begins

21 December 1993

Approval of feasibility study, environmental impact assessment reports

23 February 1994

Approval of environmental impact mitigation plan

3 May 1994

Government approval

2 December 1994

Ground breaking ceremony

15 June 1998

Water storage inauguration ceremony HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn presides

25 November 1999

Grand Opening

2000 Preface

With the approach of the new millennium, we recognize the valuable contributions of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, King Rama IX, in steering Thailand towards half a century of social and economic progress. In His Majesty's concern for development He has demonstrated the qualities of love and commitment to public service, and has looked at the well-being of His people as the basis for lasting development.

We wish to thank His Majesty for His continued gracious encouragement to both our organizations to strive toward the fuller realization of development in the service of the peoples' needs.

Ten years ago, on 19 February 1989, His Majesty the King graciously provided an initiation to the Office of the Royal Development Projects Board and the Royal Irrigation Department to resume feasibility studies of the Pa Sak River Basin Development Project. Today we are graced with His Majesty's presence at this millennial event to inaugurate a large-scale development project which not only links metropolis and deep countryside, but which also affirms traditional culture and community values.

The Office of the Royal Development Projects Board and the Pa Sak River Basin Development Project Committee and its seven Sub-Committees cooperated together in the planning and implementation of the Pa Sak River Basin Development Project. We believe that this project can be considered a model in successfully integrating personnel from government agencies, academic institutions and non-governmental organizations to resolve many issues encountered in solving problems of implementing development projects. We believe it to contain an experience and an understanding of approach of significance to other countries.

This publication is a result of the collective efforts of the Royal Irrigation Department and the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. It is aimed at creating public awareness of the benefits envisaged in the project towards sustainable agricultural development in Thailand. We wish to express our sincere thanks to all who have contributed to this initiative, and hope that the publication will serve as a useful source of information on the development of the Pa Sak River Basin Development Project.

On behalf of the Royal Irrigation Department and the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, we salute His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who has led His people to the threshold of a new century, and the new millennium, with hope and confidence.

Mr Kitcha Polparsi
Director General, Royal Irrigation Department
Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives
Royal Thai Government
Dr Prem Nath
Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Table of contents

Chapter I.Chapter The River, the Monarch and His Theory
The Pa Sak River. HM the King and the Pa Sak River Basin Development Project. The Pa Sak Jolasid Dam: A Royally-granted name. A New Theory of land use and water resources management. The Project reflects His Majesty's concept.
Chapter II.Chapter Background: The Pa Sak River Basin
The Pa Sak River Basin. Rainfall and runoff. Area and land use. Pre-project situation.
Chapter III.Chapter The Pa Sak Jolasid Dam
Project objectives. Main project components. Project timetable. Efficient management. Site selection. Additional benefits of the chosen site. Reservoir operation and maintenance.
Chapter IV.Chapter A gift of abundance
Post-project situation. Development of newly irrigated lands. Improvements to existing irrigated areas. Flood control and salinity intrusion prevention. Abundant harvests, from water and land. Enhanced fisheries resources. Resource management for food security and poverty alleviation. Integrated farming systems. Technical, financial and marketing support.
Chapter V.Chapter Profiles in self-sufficiency
Relocation to a better future. Women develop leadership and business skills. Weaving the past into the future. Environment-friendly farming. Forests for today and for posterity. Forest harvesting and handicrafts. Eco-tourism a benefit of development.
Chapter VI.Chapter Heritage of the past: a promise for the future
Maintaining ethnic diversity and communities. Excavation and preservation of key archaeological sites.
Chapter VII.Chapter Looking to a living future

Economic crisis in Thailand since 1997 has brought to public awareness His Majesty the King's concern that sustainable development can only be truly lasting with the full benefit of people's participation. There is growing awareness of the wider benefit to society when ordinary farmers produce a sufficiency of food for their own families and for local consumption. Recent constitutional changes assure direct local participation in development in general, and in particular a higher profile and an increased presence of women in development.

Thailand will be able to pull through this crisis … because this land is a good land to live in, suitable for sustaining life. But we must not be extravagant. We must live within our means and in the right way.

--His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej 4 December 1997