THE “Four Rivers Restoration Project” which is considered as the biggest national project in the country’s history, investing more than 22.2 trillion won and scheduled to be completed by 2012, is now accelerating. The government unveiled a master plan for 16 reservoirs and weirs in late October of this year. The main purpose of the project is not only to prepare for floods and drought and improve water quality, but also to create a new culture around each river and to improve the quality of life by revitalizing the local economy.
Each river has its own theme: Art River for the Han River, Gold River for the Geum River, Romantic River for the Young-san River and Eco River for the Nakdong River. Around each river, museums will be built and vicinities developed into special zones called the “museum belt” which will focus on the area’s history and culture. Furthermore, specially designated villages located near the rivers will be developed into themed villages, bringing the area’s well known products and natural resources together to create a new and unique culture. For example, the Bu-yeo weir at the Geum River is designed to characterize General Gyebaek on a horse and the Gangjung weir at the Nakdong River, being the center of the ancient Gaya Era, will reflect its geographical and cultural characteristics. The Seung-chon weir at the Young-san River will symbolize the area’s abundant crop, Naju Rice, while the Hap-chun weir at the Nakdong River will adopt the sacred ibis, which is at risk of becoming extinct, as its symbol.
Around each weir, convenient facilities such as bicycle paths and observatory towers will be built. 16 weirs are expected to become the landmarks of each area thanks to their unique designs and will contribute to improving the lives of local people.
Designs of the 16 weirs were included in the master plan and created by 11 Korean builders, Daelim Industrial, Hyundai E & C, GS, SK, Daewoo, Samsung C & T, POSCO E& C, Doosan, Hyundai Development Co., Samsung Heavy Industries Co. and Hanyang Corp. The 16 designs unveiled were created considering each area’s unique geographic, historic and cultural characteristics, and possess multi-functional and family-friendly facilities such pools and eco-parks. Included in the plans are fish paths designed to conserve local wildlife and observatory facilities for those paths which will be utilized as centers for ecological studies.
In order to ease concerns on water quality deterioration that can occur during construction, standards ten times higher than normal will be applied throughout the entire process. Diversion channels and dividers will be built and cutting edge technologies such as crossway dredging will be applied to every process to prevent any possible water pollution during construction. The office in charge of the project will run a Center for Water Quality Control of the Four Rivers to ensure that any incident will be dealt within a quick and effective manner.
The office in charge of the project is preparing to begin main construction next year, and is therefore aiming to finish all preparations, such as purchasing materials, progress schedule planning and equipment labor force planning by the end of this year. The goal is to break ground at all 92 sections of the project by March 2010.
The office has already started to pay compensation for agricultural losses and the moving of facilities to those whose land falls under the project sites. Residents in Bu-yeo near the Geum River, which takes up the largest land area among all four rivers sites with a land size of 12,260,000 ㎡, were able to quickly and smoothly reach an agreement with the local government and thus became the first area to be compensated.