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A new Phuket pond is dug near Rajabhat University in Phuket City

Phuket's 'Big Dry' Leaves Hundreds Without Water

Thursday, March 18, 2010
EMERGENCY supplies of water are being trucked in to more than 670 families in areas of Phuket that appear to be the first to fall victim to the island's ''Big Dry.''

While authorities say there is plenty of water to go around if rain falls before May 28, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mittigation has had to come to the rescue of all the residents of Moo 1-9 at Pa Klok, Moo 1-6 in Cherng Talay, Moo 1-5 in Sakoo, Moo 1-11 in Thekasattri and Moo 1-8 in Srisunthorn.

The Director of the DDPM, San Jantharawong, told Phuketwan: ''It's really an emergency because there is not enough clean water in the regular supply.''

The problem is not insufficient water, but the lack of sufficient machinery to process the water to distribution quality.

The DDPM is carrying water to the 673 families by truck and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Meanwhile the Irrigation Department is spending 41 million baht on excavating large ponds near Rajabhat University and Soi Paneng in Phuket City to collect more water for Phuket's supply.

Bang Wad reservoir in central Phuket, the island's main source, has 4.5 million cubic metres, or 62 percent, while Bang Niaow Dam at Cherng Talay has 6.8 million cubic metres, or 95 percent, the Irrigation Department says.

Irrigation Department head at Bang Wad reservoir, Isara Anukul, said that 80 percent of Phuket's water came from the reservoirs and 20 percent would soon come from large ponds.

''The level of the water in the reservoirs is better than last year,'' he said. ''But with so many more people on Phuket - tourists, residents and foreign workers - everyone has to save water.''

He said global warming meant that Phuket residents might have to be much more careful in future.

Cherng Talay mayor Manoch Phanchalad said he would buy more water if he could, but supplies of water for sale would be exhausted in two months in the central Phuket area.

Patong and Karon have endured water rationing in the past.
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Comments

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And yet the golf courses and water parks seem to carry on.
When will people realise that water management is important?

Editor: Good point but perhaps misdirected. The golf courses and the waterpark source their own water and are a good example to others. Rainwater tanks should be compulsory on all new homes and installed on old ones, too.

Posted by Mr Mark on March 19, 2010 08:05

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"Bang Niaow Dam at Cherng Talay has 6.8 million cubic metres".. and yet all these areas without water are close to that huge reservoir - lack of water seems not to be the problem at all.

Posted by Jamie Monk on March 19, 2010 08:31

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I'm not sure what "source the water" means.

Maybe some golf courses, resorts and housing developments are using a percentage of grey water?

It's a good question? How many thousands of hotel rooms are using water? Laundries ?

Cement companies seem to divert quite a bit of fresh water fueling building which is fueling shortages ..

But since it still rains half the year, water shortages are inexcusable.

Reminds me of the Rapa Nui folk,
cut down all their trees to worship things ( money ) and disappeared.

Now it's happening on a global scale.

Posted by Horse Doctor on March 19, 2010 09:18

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Editor. Golf courses and water parks 'source' their own water by having their own wells. This lowers the water table for EVERYONE.

Far from sourcing 'their own' water - they are actually taking more than their fair share from the community.

The water table knows no boundaries between land, and those who have the deepest wells can take the most.

That being said, it's woefully managed.

Who allowed the water park to use fresh water and not salt water?

Couldn't they have had salt water in the pools and fresh water in the showers? Couldn't they have had a reverse osmosis plant?

The big hotels, as i understand it, have to recycle their own water. Certainly the Hilton and Evason do.

But golf courses and water parks don't and i'll bet a golf course uses more water to keep it's grass green than a hotel - particularly at this time of year.

Editor: My understanding is that most if not all Phuket golf courses use lagoon water. Some use recycled water where possible. The waterpark has said there will be minimal loss to their one and only fill of water, from evaporation and the drops carried away by swimmers.
It would be wise to separate those who are not diminishing the water table from those who are. The golf courses and the waterpark are more conservation-savvy than most. Wells wouldn't be necessary if rainwater tanks were made compulsory.

Posted by Mr Mark on March 19, 2010 16:18

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I live in Srisoonthorn rd Moo 6 and the water in the last few days went very brown and then this morning stopped altogether. Any ideas on who I can talk to about getting water supplies?

Posted by Mellissa on March 26, 2010 08:55


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