The government has allocated W15.2 trillion to clean up and improve the tributaries of Korea's four major rivers by 2015 (US$1=W1,087). The ministries of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs, Environment, and Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries will use the money to strengthen the dikes and dredge the beds of 356 tributaries across the country. They also plan to improve the water quality of 20 tributaries, including those feeding the Han River.
A government official on Thursday said, "After talks with budget officials, we tentatively agreed to spend W15.2 trillion over the next five years" on the project. It will be carried out in two stages, from 2011 to 2015 and 2016 to 2020. The first stage will cost W15.2 trillion, but the budget for the second has not been set yet, with the total forecast at around W30 trillion.
The official denied the government is trying to slip a fresh mega project past the public. The first stage "is not entirely new but combines individual cleanup and improvement projects that the different ministries are already pursuing,” he claimed. So it's not as if the government is trying to secure a budget to finance a new mega project."
The government originally planned to finalize the project on Friday at a meeting attended by President Lee Myung-bak, but it postponed the plan to put it through an expert review and public hearings.