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Roofers work in advance of storm clouds Phuket hopes will bring rain

Phuket Prays for Rain: Water Crisis Looms

Wednesday, May 20, 2015
PHUKET: Parts of Phuket have almost run dry of tap water and the whole holiday island will be in a drought crisis if rain does not fall within 10 days, officials confirmed today.

Forty percent of the mains water for Phuket City comes from small dams and those small dams now have just one tenth of their normal supply, Deputy Mayor Thaworn Jirapattanasopon said.

''The issue has already been reported by the mayor to Phuket Governor Nisit Jansomwong,'' said Khun Thaworn, who is responsible for the city's infrastructure. ''If rain doesn't come within the next 10 days, the island will be in crisis.''

Monsoon-strength winds are forecast for tomorrow but that doesn't necessarily mean rains will follow, meteorological forecasters said today. The rains are overdue and should have arrived around last month's Songkran New Year festival or soon after.

Admissions about the real state of Phuket's water supply have only come in the past 24 hours as officials who have previously said ''What problem?'' have been forced to acknowledge that there is inadequate provision for tap water on Phuket.

Not since 2004 has the island been exposed as being careless with making adequate provision in case Nature fails to deliver. Massive amounts of rain fall on Phuket between May and October but only a small proportion is captured for use during the dry season.

The result: Parts of Phuket are already being held to ransom by private water suppliers who stand to gain when prices are inevitably pushed higher if the dry conditions prevail beyond tomorrow.

The areas most likely to suffer rationing or low pressure are east of Phuket City towards Koh Sireh and the thousands of households in Rassada. Deliveries of water in municipal fire trucks are already being considered, just in case. Residents may have to relearn how to wash from a bucket.

Thalang is safe for now - supplies to northern Phuket come from bang Jo, where there is sufficient water for now.

At Bang Wad reservoir, the island's largest collection-point, which supplies 60 percent of Phuket City's needs, the Director Pisak Chonlayoot says there are two million cubic meters. The island draws about 100,000 cubic meters a day from Bang Wad.

''The reservoir has a capacity of 7.3 million cubic meters but this could be expanded to 10.6 million with a new capital works investment,'' he said. ''We expect rain any day.''

It's astonishing that the nation's richest province outside Bangkok has yet to make future water supplies a certainty when so much rain falls. The deficiency plays into the hands of private water suppliers who boost prices when municipal supplies run low.

Phuketwan has suggested that future developments on Phuket should be obliged to meet 20 percent of their power requirements and 100 percent of their water needs through ponds, lagoons or large tanks. Such a move would slow development and ensure adequate future supplies of water for Phuket.

Comments

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So the conclusion is to cap the number of tourists with cheap package-tours and make compulsory to all Thais from other provinces to be fully registered and pay taxes to finance more dams and reservoirs.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on May 20, 2015 12:18

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It is unbelievable that Phuket water boards/authorities have nothing done the last 5 years to prevent such happening.
Yes, allowing building-building, but not keep track with water supply. Thai Government,..Do not allow new building projects if you not sure you can fulfill your water supply obligation.
Now, who is responsible? Nobody? Governor, Water board. who? Come forward and supply your water obligation, for which all households pay!

Posted by Kurt on May 20, 2015 12:59

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Totally agree about the water I only know one person who had the foresight to build a collection tank under his house can store a lot of water all coming down from the roof

Posted by Michael on May 20, 2015 13:06

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Gazing expectantly and wishfully at the skies is one heck of a water policy - infrastructure should be in place to ensure a year round suppy of water.

With all the profits the tankers make is would be interesting to see why the main street in Kamala is currently being used by them as a servicing bay, with oil changes running straight into the gutter and the drainage system.

With two recent incidents involving water tankers and other vehicles it was 'reassuring' to see the drivers knocking back beers last night whilst waiting.

Posted by Mister Ree on May 20, 2015 13:14

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Thinking about all the wasted water for Songkran..... Maybe time to ban such a disgrace???

Posted by JK on May 20, 2015 16:01

Editor Comment:

Actually, JK, Songkran is a cultural festival that uses water in a positive way. It's the massive amounts of rain that fall during the monsoon season that need to be saved. if you think Songkran is a ''disgrace,'' Thailand may not be the right place for you.

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There was a desalination plant built in 2007/08 in Karon. Whatever happened to it.......................

Posted by Mr Man on May 20, 2015 16:19

Editor Comment:

Technical solutions to simple issues are never the appropriate response. For a shortage of water, the correct answer is, catch and store more rain. But someone would have benefitted from the desalination plant. Karon seems to have more than its fair share of foolish responses to simple issues.

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Agree with Whistleblower on both the Point 1 and the Point 2.

Posted by Sue on May 20, 2015 20:55

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@ Kurt

Done nothing ? I bet you they have all been making merit at the temple and praying for rain.

What more can you reasonably expect from Phuket authorities ?

Posted by Herbert on May 21, 2015 00:05

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Praying for rain is okay (though I doubt anyone actually gets down on their knees and does it) - if combined with proactive ACTION.

Too Bad that REACTIVE is almost always the order of the day.

Posted by farang888 on May 21, 2015 00:33

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Yes folks, Locals have dug plenty of wells to supply water paying no tax and pumping 24/7 to sell to all on the island. Maybe the Orbortor has a vested interest in not having enough tap water. Never mind if you live next door to these greedy persons and your well has no water its not their fault after all they are locals and can do what they want.

Posted by Well Well Well on May 21, 2015 07:36

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Control the water means control the people. In south Italy there is the same disgrace: a lot of water under the soil, but a public aqueduct that never works. Mafia control the waters for money interest. Here is the same. Is well know that many time the public pipelines are intentionally broken by blows of bulldozer (example in Rawai area close to the hill on Saiyan road well know for lacking of undersoil water). Moreover, covering all the land by cement, without any control or regulation from government, makes the situation even worst for the future. Heavy rains go straight in the channels and after in the sea.. there is no longer the way to go to restore the dry wells.. Soon they will have what they deserve..

Posted by dave on May 21, 2015 11:37

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Well, Well, Well.
When I inquired about this (digging and selling) some time back I was told that was no law against it.

Posted by sam Wilko on May 21, 2015 11:46

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So, in 10 days time parts of Phuket face tap water shortage.
With NCPO in charge some Phuket authorities are going to face the music. Not to much, of course. The administration setting is smartly such that nobody will be responsible.
Governor + Water Boards Phuket are not pro-active, they also not re-active, what actually are they?

Posted by Kurt on May 21, 2015 12:52

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Thats true Sam. Any Farang can now find a piece of land with water. Dig a bunch of wells and get a truck and go into business. Just be careful not to upset the locals as accidents may happen. My next door neighbour thought it was great until he sucked his well dry-now he is buying water :) somnamna

Posted by Well Well Well on May 21, 2015 14:26

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Kurt,
Deactivated, maybe?

Posted by Manowar on May 21, 2015 15:44

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Right mr Manowar, very true.

Posted by Kurt on May 21, 2015 16:54

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I did an article on water management for a local paper and one of the very dedicated people I interviewed was a Swede who came here with precise plans on how to conserve water. He realised that the game was up when a local phoned him and enthused: "Thanks so much for your valuable advice, our hotel has since installed rain showers in our bathrooms." Gnn...

Posted by Sam wilko on May 21, 2015 18:33

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Due to a strong el Nino drought in southeast Asia was largely expected this year. When there is el nino the consequences for Thailand is a reduction in the annual rain and this year it seems that el nino will be particularly intense.

Posted by jonathan on May 22, 2015 10:16

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So far, water management is not yet a chapter in any thai book. Actually pity, coz, or have to much water( flooding) or lack of water ( drought).

Beside of that, coming years private wells are becoming a environmental irreversible health disaster.
Every where on Phuket, close to private wells, are illegal rubbish dump places of oil products, batteries, chemical products and all more you can imagine.
It all drips/sucks down.
Near my place was a large pond, For 2 years at night time lorries came quietly, dumping anything. After the pond was full, they did cover it with a 4 feet sand layer and everything looks fresh and clean ( in Thailand: what you not see, does not exist). The people in that housing area, having well, go to face the environmental consequence in a few years time. Cancer, skin diseases.
And this you find all over on Paradise island Phuket.

Posted by Kurt on May 22, 2015 13:18


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