Posted October. 30, 2015 09:28,
Main Saenuri Party leader Kim Moo-sung, who visited Wednesday an area in South Chungcheong suffering from severe drought, hinted at starting a spring business. "I feel sad that the second stage of the four-river restoration project has been suspended due to political battle between the leading and opposition parties," he said. Despite the country suffering the worst drought in 42 years, the main streams of the four rivers are flooding with water, to which he hopes to connect to nearby branches to resolve water shortage.
South Chungcheong Province Governor and main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy member Ahn Hee-jung met Kim at Yedang reservoir, whose pondage has declined the most in South Chungcheong Province. There Ahn agreed with Kim, saying, "Fighting over past politically controversial issues (such as the four-river project) should never be allowed before drought matters."
It is understandable that Ahn, one of the closest aides to the late former President Roh Moo-hyun, strongly criticized the four-river project during the Lee Myung-bak administration. It is also fully embraceable that Ahn, as the head of the province, sent surplus water of Baekjebo in the Geum River to the upper stream of the Boryeong Dam, and recommended to the central government installing supply water pipe between Gongjubo and Yedang reservoir. As these changes raised disputes among his supporters, Ahn posted a lame excuse on Facebook on Saturday, saying, "The construction to link the Geum River and the Boryeong Dam is little related to the four river project." Shifting positions to relieve the pain of province residents is not a cowardly act. Neglecting a drought issue that can be immediately realized due to political beliefs should instead be criticized.
According to a report formed by four-river project survey and assessment committee under the Prime Minister Office, 398.7 million square meters - 648.9 million square meters out of 1.16 billion-square meters water resources secured for the four-river project can be used in drought situations. Nevertheless, the drought damages are expanding in an uncontrollable manner due to the main opposition party`s extreme opposition to the local stream maintenance project, which is the follow-up of the four river project, just because of political reasons. The opposition party is also trying to cut budget and plan related to four-river project in next year budget that is under deliberation at the National Assembly.
It has been long that farmers gave up farming in drought areas. Now we are worried about drinking water. Using water from the small dams created by the Lee administration to ease residents` pain is not a strange act. Criticizing the use of water resources from four rivers because of hatred against the former president is absurd at a time when there is no viable alternative. Politicians who are using even the drought issue as political battle will be subject to strict screening in next year elections.