Experts say it would now be best to remove the weirs and gradually return the rivers to their natural state
By Kim Jeong-su, environment correspondent
“The weirs don’t serve a purpose, and they are so pointless that there isn’t even a good reason to look into their financial soundness. All that the weirs are doing is putting stress on the water quality and the ecosystem,” said Lee. “Our only option is to get rid of them.”
1.5 trillion won (US$1.34 billion) was invested in the construction of the 16 weirs. The reason that discussion has already begun about eliminating them less than two years after construction is not only that they are unnecessary, but also very expensive to maintain.
”We must ultimately work toward dismantling the weirs and restoring the rivers to their natural state,“ Park said.
It does not appear that the cost of dismantling the weirs will be a major obstacle. According to calculations by the Korean Society of Limnology, about 10 billion won (US$8.96 million) should be sufficient per weir.
Even if all 16 weirs were dismantled, it would cost less than one year of maintenance and upkeep for the Four Major Rivers Project.