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Future Strategies for the Management of Dams in response to Climate Change and Social DemandsDetailed plans and ideas for how governance and policies should change
Jung-mi Lee giving a speech on the importance of managing dams <Photography=Chijung Park>

[The Hwankyung Ilbo] The management of dams can be deemed as one of the most crucial factors that determines the effect of climate change on its water resources. For South Korea, the management of dams is so poor that dams are impotent to respond to future climatic events.

This has come to a recent concern as Jung-mi Lee, a member of the National Assembly, hosted a conference to discuss strategies on July 3rd in the National Assembly Library. She emphasizes that Korea must acknowledge the direct correlation between combatting climate change and management of dams.

Jung-wook Kim, the president of the Green Growth Committee, imparted background knowledge on this issue. As climate change causes more droughts and flood, dams are crucial to prevent these catastrophes. However, the balance in preventing droughts and floods is a difficulty.

From this context, Sung-ho Lee, a professor at Korea University propounds a seminar on the future of dam management. Lee presents a new system of management, focusing on four main goals: the operation of the Watershed Management System, water rights, along with distribution of water resource, dam management, and plan for drought and flood. Lee underscores that because everyone is “uncertain” of climate change effects, it is crucial that dams are prepared for any impacts, not for one specific impact.

Jae-kyung Jeon, a social capital researcher, appends that water rights and economic policies must also be considered. He suggests a few solutions to these issues; for instance, he insinuates that the government should stop free water production for National parks.

After seminars on future plans, a discussion was held between environmental experts. For policy changes, Jin-peo Park, a lawyer at the Taepyeong-yang legal affairs corporation, pointed out that markets (water costs) and agricultural water distribution should be considered when changing policies. In other words, social demands must be met.

In management discussions, Jin-soo Kim, a researcher at the National Assembly Research Service, asserted that flood and irrigation control must be balanced as they are inversely proportional. Kyung-oh Baik, a professor at Hankyong University, comments that outside irrigation systems is inefficient. However, examples that Baik brought up came to conflict as some audience members refuted that irrigation systems outside create less waste.

In terms of climate change, Sang-hyun Lee, a professor at Hanshin University, asserted that dams should be structured in an environment-friendly way like those of the United States (programs to save endangered species). Furthermore, according to Jin-peo Park, Korea’s multi-purposed dams prove to be inefficient and wasteful.

Perhaps most importantly, a whole-hearted agreement was reached in these solutions: the need to modernize and research. Because dams were built during Korea’s economic growth period-approximately 30 years ago-most major dams cannot function environmentally. A change is needed to prevent catastrophic events.

Overall, the conference propounded future strategies on how the management of dams will be changed for this year in response to social needs and climate change. In addition, the discussion between experts further imparted a more detailed fashion of thought into factors that should be considered when executing the plan.

Chijung Park Reporter  chijungpark@hkbs.co.kr

<저작권자 © 환경일보, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>

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