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Desalination plant finally comes onstream

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Desalination plant finally comes onstream | The Thaiger

KARON: The new desalination plant capable of producing up to 12,000 cubic meters of potable water a day is in its final testing stages and will begin full production by the end of this month, says the head of the island’s largest water supply system.

Phuket Provincial Water Supply (PPWS) Manager Sayan Wareearoonroj told the Gazette that the plant, which uses reverse-osmosis (RO) technology, began supplying water to Kata-Karon on a trial basis on December 29.

On January 12, the plant began pumping 4,000m³ to Patong and 3,000m³ to Kata-Karon, also on a test basis, he said.

“We expect it to be running at its full capacity of 12,000m³ a day by the end of this month,” he added.

During the testing phase, the PPWS has been mixing the purer RO water with supplies from Bang Wad Reservoir in Kathu. Despite the increase in water quality, consumers receiving the RO water will continue to pay at the old rate for the foreseeable future, he said.

In Kata-Karon, reserves from the PPWS system will be used only in case of shortages, he said.

K. Sayan urged consumers to check their water pipes to ensure they can withstand the higher pressures which will be used with the new RO supply.

The RO water is potable, but people should ensure their storage tanks and plumbing are thoroughly clean if they plan to drink it. They should also wait until the PPWS has completely cleaned the municipal supply system by chlorination, he said.

There have been bureaucratic obstacles to the RO plants operation because of the need to discharge briny process water back into the sea, but the plant should be granted full permission from the Ministry of Interior soon, he said.

The man responsible for building the RO plant, Jaturong Sa-duagkarn of REQ Co Ltd, told the Gazette that during testing the plant has taken in about 20,000m³ of seawater daily. About 7,500m³ of this is processed into pure RO water and the remainder drained back into the sea through a pipe that discharges about 800 meters off the coast at Karon Beach, at depth of about 16 meters.

Testing in the discharge area failed to find any difference in water quality there, he said.

Pamuke Achariyachai, Managing Director of the Kata Group of hotels and resorts, said the RO supply would come as a relief to long-suffering hotels in the area which have for years been forced to buy supplies from water trucks.

K. Sayan said that areas relying on the main PPWS supply system needn’t worry about shortages this dry season.

“Now Phuket has enough water to get through the dry season. We face the same problem every year, so we know how to plan for it,” he said.

The PPWS now has an additional 2 million cubic meters in reserve water supplies from the Hitlor and Manik lagoons in Tambon Srisoonthorn, which are now connected to the PPWS system via a 17-kilometer pipeline completed last year.

The PPWS has also signed an agreement with REQ to buy additional water, if needed. REQ maintains two water supply sources in Kathu and one more in Chalong. Together these can produce up to 4,800 cubic meters a day to augment PPWS supplies, he said.

Phuket City has its own municipal water supply system, which uses Bang Wad Reservoir and tin mine lagoons as sources.

Janpen Kotchakarn, who heads the municipal water supply’s production unit, said her office would continue to monitor and adjust pressure rates to minimize wastage while ensuring there is enough water to meet demand.

“We face this problem every dry season so we are well acquainted with it,” she said.

The municipality currently pipes about 26,000m³ a day through a distribution network covering about 12 square kilometers. The town also supplies much smaller amounts to a community in the Soi Phaneang area of neighboring Tambon Rassada, she said.



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The 5th Annual Stargazer talent contest returns to CC’s Hideaway

The Thaiger

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The 5th Annual Stargazer talent contest returns to CC’s Hideaway | The Thaiger

This year the winner will receive 35,000 baht in prize money!

CC’s Hideaway, located in Kata, proudly presents its fifth ‘Stargazer Talent Contest’ which will take place on April 27 between 6 pm and 11 pm. 

The goal of Stargazer is to create an opportunity for new individuals and groups to perform and promote their special talents and, with media and hundreds of guests in attendance, maybe even get their big break.

Stargazer is open to the Thai and expat communities alike. In previous years, the contest has attracted contestants from around the world, including Thailand, the US, Russia, Australia, Singapore, the UK, Italy, Canada, Kyrgyzstan and The Philippines.

Stargazer brings together a wide range of singers, bands, dancers, acrobats and actors who are scored by spectators and professional judges.

This year, the winner will receive 35,000 baht and a the Stargazer trophy, second place will receive 20,000 baht and third place will receive 10,000 baht. There is also the ‘People’s Choice’ award, as chosen by the audience.

The 5th Annual Stargazer talent contest returns to CC's Hideaway | News by The Thaiger

Past winners include Same Size Crew, Bboys dance team (2015), Khun Maatam Rapter from Chiang Mai who sing’s like an lady (2016), Spectrum dance team (2017) and Daisy & Alvin, popular local Phuket performers (2018).

In line with CC’s Hideaway commitment to give back to the Thai community, the resort will donate a portion of the revenue generated by Stargazer to the Life Home Project Foundation whose mission is to offer children who are affected or infected with HIV/AIDS a more dignified life, prevent the spread of this disease in Phuket and fight against the stigmatisation of people living with it. 

To apply, email [email protected] with a short biography, a photo and a link to a video of your performance. Contestants must be aged 13 or over.

Entry is free for the first 25 people who come before 7 pm and is 250 baht thereafter, including a drink. Guests and contestants are encouraged to dress in neon colours.

For more details, visit HERE, call 076 333 222 or email [email protected]

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Phuket

Legality of Seastead likely to be tested in an international court

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Legality of Seastead likely to be tested in an international court | The Thaiger

The perceived naiveté of the team surrounding the seastead structure off Phuket’s south-east coast are about to be tested as the matter is likely to end up in an international court.

Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam says that the Thai government has the right to demolish the floating sea home and welcomed the threat of a lawsuit by its builder, Ocean Builders. Ocean Builders is a well-funded group backed by Peter Theil.

“Peter Andreas Thiel is an American entrepreneur, venture capitalist, philanthropist, political activist, and author. He is a co-founder of PayPal, Palantir Technologies and Founders Fund.”

The media narrative has been of a naive couple who wandered into the offshore lifestyle project and then went into hiding when questions started to be asked and the Navy came knocking at their offshore front door.

At the same time the Thai Government has rolled up its sleeves and showed its angry face claiming that the project was a threat to national sovereignty and security.

Some enthusiast local media included the threat of ‘death penalty’ in its reportage (covered in the Act relating to treasonous acts against the sovereignty of Thailand)  providing sensational headlines for international tabloids.

Speaking at a press conference at the King Prajadhipok’s Institute yesterday, Wissanu said Thai officials could remove the floating structure, which is located to the southeast of Koh Racha Yai, approximately 22 kilometres  from the Thai mainland, because its presence clearly violated Article 119 of Thailand’s Criminal Code as threatening the Kingdom’s security and sovereignty.

(These claims continue to be made by Thai officials without any explanation or evidence on how the 6 metre aluminium and steel structure threatens the country’s security.)

Wissanu says the structure would also be an obstacle to marine navigation as it is located near a sea drilling site.

But the company behind the project, Ocean Builders, has announced it will sue Thailand in an international court if the government removes the seastead. This legal test in a court, predicted by The Thaiger, will force the Thai Government to measure its hard-line position on the seastead in an international court of law.

But Wissanu kept pouring on the local rhetoric yesterday…

“The Thai government would be glad if a lawsuit is filed. We want a lawsuit to be filed so that we will have a chance to explain the truth.”

“Attempts have been made to build seasteads in several nations but no government had allowed them and builders were always arrested and legal action taken against them,” according to Wissanu.

From the Ocean Builder website…

“We are just beyond 12 nautical miles from shore. Under International law this puts us just outside of the territorial waters of Thailand but within their 200 nautical mile excusive economic zone. This means that we are not subject to Thailand laws other than those that deal with their natural resources (drilling for oil, mining, etc.) and no interfering with their customs (can’t act as a way to get goods and people into Thailand to get around their import and visa laws). As well as following the law of the sea which prevents “egrevious acts” such as murder, slave trade, etc.”

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Phuket

Phuket seastead will be removed today

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket seastead will be removed today | The Thaiger

The Third Naval Area Command will remove the seastead stationed off Phuket south-east coast today, belonging to an American bitcoin investor and seasteading innovators Ocean Builders.

Thai authorities plan to seize the structure as evidence in a criminal case. They fear the structure will continue to be a navigation hazard if left there.

US national Chad Elwartowski and his Thai girlfriend, Supranee Thepdet (aka Nadia Summergirl), are facing charges of threatening the Kingdom’s sovereignty. Last Sunday officials from the Royal Thai Navy and Phuket Maritime boarded the structure saying it violated Article 119 of the Criminal Code and also posed a navigational hazard.

The couple launched the ‘Ocean Builders’ seastead on February 2 off the coast of Phuket. The structure is located to the southeast of Koh Racha Yai, approximately 12 nautical miles (22.2 kilometres) from the mainland.

Elwartowski has claimed that his seastead is outside Thailand’s territorial waters, but Thai authorities insist that it violates Article 119 and challenges Thailand’s territorial rights.

“The Royal Thai Navy has full authority and duty to protect national interest and marine sovereignty in the area,” according to a Navy spokesperson.

Regarding the couple’s claim that they feared for their lives, Vice Admiral Sitthiporn Maskasem, commander of the Third Naval Area, said that authorities had followed the legal procedures.

“We are neither hunting them down nor threatening them,” said the commander.

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