> Water Resources in Korea > Progress
Brief History
Water resources planning and development in Korea began in the early 1910s under the Japanese colonial period. Research work and water resources development has continued for 90 years with significant changes. There have been four significant phases in the development.
(1) First Phase (1910 - 1940)
  The focus of this phase was rather the control of water resources in Korea through small scale channel improvement projects than water resources investigation. The main purpose of this period was to secure food production to meet the Japanese demands.

(2) Second Phase (1941 - 1965)
  World War II pushed the whole land of Korea into a production base for the war support of Japan. Hydropower generation for war support was the main focus of the water resources development until 1945. After independence from Japanese colonialism, the Korean War broke out in 1950 and continued until 1953. It destroyed the whole infrastructure of Korea including many water resources systems. In addition, most of the water resources system built during the Japanese colonial period were located in North Korea. There remained almost nothing in South Korea and there were no activities concerning the planning and management of water resources. This absolute poverty was continued until 1965.

(3) Third Phase (1966 - 1980)
  The focus of this phase was the construction of multipurpose dams for the integrated control and management of water resources. As a part of the national master plan for the economy and comprehensive land development, the Integrated River Basin Development Plan of the four major rivers was established and systematically implemented . During this period, great successes were achieved in the water resources development and management. Reduction of flood damage by 40% as contrasted with the annual average, 90% completion of channel improvements, and increasing the municipal water supply from 30% to 60%,. were some of the achievements.

(4) Fourth Phase (1981 - 1995)
  After the completion of the Integrated River Basin Development Plan of the four major rivers, the focus has been given to individual basin development. The political changes from centralization into the localization have caused a lot of problems in the development and management of river basin. The achievements during this period were the completion of multipurpose dams and multi-regional water supply systems. However, Korea will prepare for a bright future in the 21st century through adjustments and modifications of the long-term water resources master plan for river basin development and management.

In spite of newly arising problems within every part of Korean society, the achievements in integrated water resources development allowed provision of a stable water supply. This resulted in an efficient utilization of land, stability of agricultural and industrial production and a better place to live in.

National Development Plan
Water resources development planning has been established based upon the policy of the National Development Plan. Major goals and policies of the previous national development plan are shown below.
 (Chronology of National Development Plans)
Major goals
- Establishment of basis for economic growth
- Balanced development
- Improvement of social welfare
Revised second
- Balanced development
- Improvement of social welfare
- Regionally decentralized development
- Efficient national land use
- Improvement of the quality of the living environment
- Unification of South and North Korea

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