Wed, Jul 30, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Flood measures behind schedule, report shows

By Shih Hsiu-Chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Flood prevention projects that were due to be completed in the past two years fell far behind schedule, while about 60 percent of the budget for the projects went unused, the Control Yuan said in an audit report yesterday.

The audit reviewed the government’s use of NT$30.97 billion (US$1.1 billion) in funds earmarked for 2006 and last year to improve flood prevention in high-risk areas — the first phase of the government’s eight-year NT$116 billion flood prevention and water management plan.

The legislature approved the special budget for 2006 to 2013 to launch a three-stage program to combat flooding in 1,150km² of high-risk areas in central and southern Taiwan.

Extensive flooding caused by Tropical Storm Kalmaegi earlier this month prompted questions about the plan’s effectiveness.

The Control Yuan report found 10 major flaws with the plan’s implementation.

The report said the government had been slow in planning flood prevention projects and only 27 projects out of 167 projects, or 16 percent, had been completed by the end of last year.

In addition, some of the projects to be paid for with the budget were not related to flood control, including building pavilions, sightseeing platforms and walkways and repairing office buildings, the report said. The Control Yuan said it would ask that government agencies shape up their use of special budgets.

Of the NT$30.97 billion earmarked for the first phase of the plan, NT$11.48 billion was allocated for dredging rivers and other waterways and building embankments in 123 locations countrywide. The budget for this purpose was NT$6.7 billion higher than needed, the report said, while the execution rate for the projects was as low as 25 percent.

A main obstacle to carrying out flood prevention projects was the need to expropriate riverside land needed for improving water system management, the report said. Of 80 such projects, 78 were not finished because of this problem.

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