Krabi’s cool facade cracks: Paradise threatened by water crisis

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

Krabi, a paradise of pristine beaches and azure waters, faces a chilling reality: a water crisis that could dry up its tourism fortunes. As demands for long-term solutions surge, local operators urge action to avert disaster.

Sasithorn Kittidhrakul, acting president of the Krabi Tourism Association stated that the government pledged to make Thailand a tourism hub, and Krabi generates significant tourism revenue.

“The government should urgently fix water supply shortages in the province.”

With over 23,000 licenced hotel rooms and a burgeoning pipeline of new accommodations, Krabi’s hospitality sector teeters on the brink of chaos.

Sasithorn, highlighting the impact of climate change, stressed the necessity of emulating Singapore’s water management strategies.

“Krabi should adopt the water management and urban development plan of Singapore as both share similar geographical features.”

Drawing from Singapore’s playbook, the Krabi Tourism Association president advocated for the establishment of a desalination plant and the reuse of treated wastewater. Sasithorn also criticised the Provincial Waterworks Authority (PWA) for relying on a single water source, advocating for diversification to mitigate risks.

Last year’s inefficient water management during the rainy season exacerbated the crisis, leaving 28,000 households in Mueang district parched. Meanwhile, residents of Phi Phi Island, reliant on groundwater, clamour for a municipal water system.

Krabi’s water woes not only imperil its tourism economy but also burden locals with escalating costs, reported Bangkok Post.

Sasithorn urged comprehensive infrastructure development, encompassing electricity and public transport, to bolster living standards and meet escalating tourism demands.

ORIGINAL STORY: Severe water shortage threatens Phi Phi Island businesses in Krabi

For more than two months residents of Phi Phi Island have been grappling with an intense water shortage, which has brought some business operations on the brink of temporary closure if the situation persists.

Although Phi Phi Island is no stranger to water shortages, having experienced similar situations during peak tourist seasons in the past years, this occasion may affect its title as a popular resort destination.

Sanphet Sisawat, Krabi Tourism Association President, reveals that the private company responsible for supplying tap water to the island’s households, businesses and resorts stopped its service on April 23 as the water reserve in its five rai area was nearly depleted.

Notably, certain business operators have resorted to buying raw water from Krabi’s downtown areas for consumption. Additionally, even large hotels, resorts and businesses on the island are reportedly almost out of water from their artesian wells, considering temporary shutdowns if the situation does not improve soon.

According to Sanphet, this crisis has inflicted substantial damage on the island’s tourism operators, triggering cancellations of hotel bookings and tour programmes.

To alleviate the situation, the Krabi provincial authority requested the Third Navy Region to supply 100,000 litres of fresh water per ride from its base in Phuket. The authority is also contemplating hiring private logistics ships to transport an additional 200,000 litres of water per ride to the locals.

Desperate measures

Meanwhile, similar drought conditions are affecting many areas on Krabi’s mainland. Efforts by local authorities to harness raw water from reservoirs and induce artificial rain have not been fruitful, as water levels in these reservoirs remain critically low.

The Krabi Provincial Waterworks Authority is said to be working on a three-part mitigation plan, the first stage of which involves renting three mobile water production plants on a short-term basis.

The water shortage crisis is not limited to Krabi, tourist hotspots in Pattaya in Chon Buri and Koh Chang in Trat are also feeling the pinch.

In Pattaya, the private company supplying tap water has struggled to meet the increasing demand due to soaring temperatures and a surge in tourist numbers. This has resulted in water shortages in Pattaya and Si Racha district of Chon Buri, particularly in mountainous areas.

Despite these challenges, the Provincial Waterworks Authority Division 1 has stepped up its efforts by arranging water deliveries to residents’ doorsteps.

In Koh Chang, a notable tourist attraction, the Khlong Phlu waterfall in Moo Koh Chang National Park, has been temporarily closed since May 3 due to insufficient water levels. Other waterfalls in the park have also been closed for at least a month, marking a rare occurrence, according to Niramitr Songsaeng, head of the national park.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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