SEOUL, March 22 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in on Friday vowed to take additional steps to protect the country's water sources and enhance irrigation to help prevent droughts and flooding.
"Water is the source of all life," the president said in a ceremony marking World Water Day in Daegu, 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul.
"Water is a given right. Ensuring a steady supply of clean water is protecting a basic right that every one of our citizens must be allowed to enjoy," the president added.
Moon noted all former administrations had worked to ensure supplies and prevent water-related disasters, but he insisted such efforts now required different measures.
"Due to climate change, extreme weather and natural disasters will become more frequent, greater in scale," he said.
"We need a fundamental solution to water-related issues and a change to ensure sustainable management of water that takes into account the environment and the ecosystem," the president added.
He highlighted the importance of protecting the environment and ensuring the quality of water, along with maintaining an adequate level of water resources.
"Quantity-oriented policies, policies centered around post-disaster repairs have had limits," he said.
The Moon Jae-in administration has virtually scrapped the multi-trillion-won river restoration project of the former Lee Myung-bak administration, opening or removing a majority of 16 dammed pools along the country's four major river systems that had been blamed for regular, high concentrations of green tide.
"We need to change our point of view to move beyond our old perspective of water as a subject of protection or regulation to see it as a source of growth in the fourth industrial revolution under our active efforts to enable the coexistence of the environment and new industrial sectors," said Moon.
The president said the government will work to make sure each and every person can have access to clean water at any time.
"Second, it will create an environment safe from water-related disasters," he said.
He also promised support for the water industry.
"Currently the global market for the water industry is at over US$700 billion and is expected to post an average annual growth of about 4 percent until 2022. The government will strategically support companies with technological competitiveness to make advances in the global market," the president said.
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