Farmer representatives and NGOs voice opposition to draft water bill

Northeastern farmer representatives who called themselves Isarn River Basin People’s Network and the NGOs Coordinating Committee voiced their stiff opposition to the controversial draft water bill which seeks to impose tax on the use of water from natural water sources from all users.

The farmer representatives from Khon Kaen, Chaiyaphum, Loei, Surin and Si Sa Ket joined members of the NGOs Coordinating Committee to discuss the draft water bill in Khon Kaen province.

After the meeting, they issued a statement opposing the draft bill, claiming that the bill was drafted without prior consultation and participation of grassroot people as no public hearings were held to gauge the views of people living in river basins.

The bill – if passed – will give monopolistic power to the state, especially the National Water Resources Committee, in water management.

Currently, the bill is pending with the National Legislative Assembly with a committee being set up to hold a public forum to gauge more opinions from stake holders.