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Dirt fills a pond close to the bypass road in Phuket City

Phuket's Dilemma: Not Enough Water in Patong, Too Much in a Phuket City Pond

Friday, February 7, 2014
PHUKET: Patong residents have written to complain to the council about the lack of fresh water while at the same time, a large freshwater pond on the other side of the island is being rapidly filled in.

Those are the diverging approaches to water on Phuket, a holiday island desperately in need of a conservation policy that supplies the needs of residents and visitors all year round.

The irony is that if Phuket could save more of the water that falls in bucketloads during the wet season, a prolonged dry season would never again leave residents with taps that don't produce water.

Patong's acting mayor, Chairat Sukban, told Phuketwan today that he'd received a letter from resorts, restaurant owners and residents asking what had happened to the popular west coast city's water supply.

About 50 percent of Patong has been dry for three days, a council staff member confirmed, and residents said this high season was producing shortages that appeared to be about average or perhaps a little worse than in previous holiday peaks.

''This year, though,'' one resident told Phuketwan ''the problem is exacerbated because some of the fresh water trucks are filled with dirty water. I can't imagine what tourists make of Patong if they turn on the shower and brown water comes out.''

The resident said he'd rejected a truckload of water priced at 1000 baht because he tested it and found it was too dirty.

''Others probably need to check the water too,'' he said. ''I know quite a few people are not happy to not be able to get regular supplies of usable water through the taps.''

Khun Chairat said that the Provincial Waterworks Authority was responsible. The PWA's Tamrong Kumpet said today that the problem was the flow of the water, not the supply.

''We can push 1500 cubic metres through the system in an hour but once demand grows too great, we can't meet demand.'' Currently demand was running at 105,000 cubic metres and the system could supply 90,000 cubic metres so rationing had to be applied.

''The water system has failed to keep up with development,'' he said. ''Councils are able to use trucks to take water from Bang Wad in these situations. But with the numbers of tourists growing so fast, there's pressure on the system's ability to cope.''

The pipes are to be enlarged next year, Khun Tamrong said. Phuket has Bang Wad reservoir in central Phuket and Bang Neaw reservoir in the north of the island with Klong Krata reservoir in Chalong due for completion in the south next year.

Conservationists, though, believe every new property project on Phuket should have its own rainwater tanks with ponds as well on larger projects to reduce the drain on public supplies.

The value of fresh water is not widely appreciated, with a large tin mine lagoon in Phuket City being filled in at present while residents in Patong go short of water.

According to a Rassada council spokesperson who prefers to remain anonymous, the owner of the pond was asked to buttress the shore at one end to prevent the water eroding a public road.

Nearby residents now say that scores of truckloads are still dumping soil into the pond every day and it appears the filling process may not stop until the pond disappears.

''The property owner may realise the pond is more valuable filled in and sold for housing,'' one neighbor said. ''But it's a shame about the houses that once had a 'lakeside view' and the value of the pond as a community asset.''

Comments

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So, stop new project developments as Phuket can not cope with too many tourists and Thais coming to work in Phuket.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on February 7, 2014 15:16

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Just another example of how uncontrolled growth driven by greed and facilitated by corruption has basic infrastructure on Phuket bursting at it's seams.

Traffic has become so bad that I will use every possible way to avoid having to drive anywhere from here in Chalong.

Fixing water pipes, traffic woes or electricity supply does not have the potential for big brown envelopes nor does it gain you "face" with photo-ops.
Considering the values Phuket worships it's no wonder it is very low on the priority list.

On the other hand, what the conservationists obviously do not understand is that every pond is a huge mosquito breeding ground. With spiking Dengue cases that's the last thing you want on every property.

Rainwater would need to be collected and stored in ways that do not allow mosquitoes to breed in it.

I kinda like the idea of brown water off the tap in Patong though. With all the filth in and around it, it's quite befitting you be getting filth right off your tap too.

Posted by ThaiMike on February 7, 2014 15:27

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Block a road somewhere, no water in Patong must be the fault of the Government in Bangkok.

Posted by Sailor on February 7, 2014 15:36

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Ahhh - I see; it's the naughty tourists fault again,not the lack of adequate infrastructure incorporated into the over-development of Patong by short-termist greed. Bang Wad Dam is not far off full at present, maybe they could practice a tunnel attempt by driving a pipe through the hill.

Posted by Mister Ree on February 7, 2014 16:56

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Is it a water pump or money sucking machine they need for Patong because those owning water truck businesses are sucking the money much more easier than high pressure water pump ?

Posted by Whistle-Blower on February 7, 2014 18:02

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How Thai authority can be so blind? How can let private people do what they want even with ponds in an Island suffering shortgage water every years worste? How do they suppose the rain water can fill the deep land and after be available in the well? When you cover all the land by cement, in case of rain most of the water fault goes straight in the channel and to the sea without filling the deep soil.. No lakes no flywheel to the natural water system and first or before someone will pay this greed wiht a very very expensive bill...

Posted by dave on February 7, 2014 18:04

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No water for 3 days and they're bitching about it? Kata has not received a drop of water through the government pipe since November. PWA continues to send the water bill of 100 thb per month for the meter usage. All businesses without their own water well are buying truck loads of fresh water 24/7 to deal with the most basic of needs.

Posted by Neiht on February 8, 2014 16:35

Editor Comment:

I guess that's what's meant by ''rationing.'' Some parts of the island get water, others don't. The lack of a conservation strategy and proper infrastructure means Phuket will continue to suffer.

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"Kata has not received a drop of water through the government pipe since November. "

Depends on where you are in Kata. We have water on and off, and have managed to fill the tanks before we ran out, so managed to avoid buying.

Posted by stevenl on February 8, 2014 17:09

Editor Comment:

Phuket has more swimming pools and spas per head of population than most places on Earth and not the foggiest idea about water conservation.

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'Phuket has more swimming pools and spas per head of population than most places on Earth and not the foggiest idea about water conservation."
Rubbish- where do you get your statistics from? I can think of plenty of places around the world with more pools per percentage of population. Ever heard of Monaco?

Posted by Mister Ree on February 8, 2014 22:51

Editor Comment:

You seem to have ignored the word ''most'' in the section ''more swimming pools and spas per head than MOST places on Earth,'' Mister Ree. Your problem is that some words evaporate before you absorb them. What you read and what's written appear to be quite different. No wonder you get the wrong idea so often.

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Let's have a 'Restart Phuket' campaign.

Posted by It's too late on February 9, 2014 04:41

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Some of the biggest consumers are golf courses, using approximately 3 million liters of water on an given day. Now ask yourself, which of the 8 golf courses on Phuket have water conservation and recycling programs? If golf courses in Las Vegas and Adelaide can cut their use of water and yet still provide high quality playing surfaces, why cannot it not be done on Phuket. Swimming pools are not the culprit, nor is basic domestic use. Rather it is the lack of conservation and recycling. The article illustrates the fact that Phuket does receive sufficient rainfall to address its basic needs. Unfortunately, the water from rainy season is not retained.

Posted by Ryan on February 10, 2014 07:15

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I am amazed at the lack of knowledge some people have about water supply, I was looking at investing in a Guest house and the Question I have asked people and they can't answer, What is the source of the supply how is this source maintained.??? So the Reservoirs mentioned above, What feeds them.???? any info would be appreciated, --- thanks

Posted by norm on August 4, 2014 08:33

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"But with the numbers of tourists growing so fast, there's pressure on the system's ability to cope." WRONG isn the tourist numbers growing fast.. is the number of hotel and guesthouse because of lackness of regulations about new construction.. And the problems is the same about waste waters..

Posted by dave on August 4, 2014 12:39


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