KAMALA: Some 500 students and 30 teachers at Rajaprachanukroh 36 School in Kamala now have fresh water piped in from a groundwater well some two kilometers inland.
The water is piped to the school, where it undergoes treatment with iron oxide filtration and reverse-osmosis (RO) technology installed by the Department of Groundwater Resources (DGR) at the cost of 400,000 baht, explained DGR Director-General Somkid Buapeng.
Before the new system came on-stream the school needed to have potable water trucked in.
The well can supply about eight to 10 cubic meters of water per hour. Of this about 10% is filtered and treated by the RO system, which can clean up to about one cubic meter of water per hour.
The school is now responsible for the system’s operation and maintenance, although DGR officials provide extra support as needed, K. Somkid explained.
The system is one of six being funded by the “Keep Walking Thailand Tsunami Fund” and the Diageo Foundation by Diageo Moet Hennessy (Thailand) Ltd, which together donated 7 million baht through HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s charitable funds, for the provision of fresh water to tsunami-impacted communities. The other five systems are in Phang Nga and Krabi provinces.
The supply system, designed and installed by the DGR, was dedicated in a March 3 ceremony at the school attended by Pittraporn Rangchaikul of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s Special Task Force; Vorathep Rangchaikul, President of Diageo Moet Hennessy (Thailand) Ltd; Phuket Vice-Governor Smith Palawatvichai; Seree Suwannapanon, Deputy Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Council, among other dignitaries.
The dedication ceremony was timed to coincide with Diageo’s Johnnie Walker Classic golf tournament, held the same weekend. Other activities organized by Diageo over the weekend included a beach cleanup at Mai Khao.
Asked whether other groundwater supplies should be developed to meet rising demand, K. Somkid said that groundwater should be considered only as supplementary to surface water supplies.
Deep subsurface aquifers in bedrock generally yield too little to serve as a major source for municipal supply, while sandy aquifers in coastal areas are usually too brackish, she explained.
The DGR needed to install a well some two kilometers inland at a depth of 60 meters in order to source the fresh water now being used at the school, she added.
K. Somkid noted that although the DGR is part of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, responsibility for protection of groundwater supplies generally falls to the local administrative bodies where they are located. These local agencies often lack the knowledge needed to adequately protect subsurface water supplies from contamination, she said.
K. Somkid told the Gazette that she agrees with a much-talked-about plan to establish a single Ministry of Water Resources to deal with all of the Kingdom’s water-related issues.
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