Your tax money at work—Four Rivers Project serious effed up

I’m shocked, I tell you! Shocked!

President Lee Myung-bak’s signature project to refurbish South Korea’s four major rivers is seriously flawed, posing a threat to the environment and even threatening dams and other facilities built along them, the state auditor said Thursday.

The 22.2 trillion won (US$20.1 billion) project, aimed at enhancing the nation’s water management system as well as preventing the Han, Nakdong, Geum and Yeongsan rivers from flooding, was completed last year, despite mounting criticism.

The project, one of Lee’s campaign pledges, has been at the center of controversy ever since due to the possible adverse influence it might have on the environment as well as allegations of shoddy construction.

22.2 trillion won to build poorly constructed dams and worsen water quality. Brilliant.

President-elect Park Geun-hye’s people are talking about forming a committee to reevaluate the project after she takes office, leading some to speculate about tensions between Park and outgoing president Lee Myung-bak. I say Park can reevaluate all she likes, but most of the damage is already done, and all a committee can likely do is tell us how much more money we’ll need to spend to mitigate the harm.

  • RElgin

    As per
    LMB pushed this through with the typical mid-level management mindset to achieve results for the sake of finishing something for the sake of putting his name on it, regardless of the consequences – and this is the same fellow that wanted to dig a canal through the mountains!!

    There are names for people like this and I don’t know which one fits him the best . . .

  • RElgin

    Also, here is an update on another environmental failure called Saemangeum from London Korea Links: Saemangeum Update.  Naturally, the government created evidence to back up their poor judgement.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    “The 22.2 trillion won (US$20.1 billion) project, aimed at enhancing…” the bank accounts of a select group of construction companies…

  • SomeguyinKorea

    Yes, and the “opening ceremony” was an excellent example of crass self-promotion.

  • JR

    Tragic…it could have been implemented I suspect. The ability to mix large scale civil engineering works and the environment is possible, though probably not at a cost the Koreans would have accepted. Too bad.

  • Mike

    Exactly! Just another public works boondoggle to fill the coffers of the politically connected. Nothing more.

  • jk641

    The 4R project has helped mitigate flooding.
    This is important in this era of global warming, with torrential rains which have become much more common.
    However, it feels like the construction was rushed and perhaps shoddy.
    As for the environmental impact due to slowed river flow, I guess that was unexpected.
    4R wasn’t a bad idea, but it should have been better planned and executed.