Phuket water woes prompt weir construction

PHUKET: A pilot project in the hills of Kathu is aimed at alleviating water supply woes at the Prince of Songkla University campus in Phuket (PSU-Phuket).

The project, headed by Bangkok Hospital Phuket (BHP), involves three weirs, or “mini-dams”, being built on hillside streams to trap and divert runoff.

The first weir, which is already completed, fills three 6,000-liter tanks that will feed into the campus’ water mains. The campus has more than 3,000 staff and students.

“A PSU research project has showed that 70% of the rain that falls on Phuket flows straight back into the sea. Phuket needs to have better water-retention management,” said Project Manager Pareeya Jullaphong.

PSU-Phuket has its own water reservoir with a capacity of 500,000 cubic meters.

Jaroon Kueachoo, who heads the PSU-Phuket Buildings and Location Department, said the weirs should help augment supplies needed to last through the dry season, which typically ends with the arrival of the monsoon season around May.

“The water level in our reservoir has fallen three meters. There is enough to supply our people this year, but I am still concerned about it in the long run.”

Army engineers were called in from the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) Fourth Region in Narathiwat to help with construction.

“We try to use natural materials – sand, rocks and bamboo – that we already have at our disposal in the construction area. However, cement is needed in some parts,” said Colonel Roengrit Chaloeyrerk, who heads weir construction projects in all three southern border provinces.

Issara Anugul, chief of the Phuket Provincial Irrigation Office (PPIO) Water Management Department, commended the project.

This is despite recent heavy rains that have nearly replenished all of the island’s main reservoirs to full capacity.

“We will have enough water to use for the upcoming dry season. I think we will have water to use until the end of May next year,” he added.

— Janpen Upatising

Phuket News

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