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Phummisak set to turn off free water

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PHUKET CITY: The era of free water will come to an end soon for Phuket City as the owner of tin mines from which the free water comes begins charging for it.

In the past, much of the city’s water was supplied free of charge from tin mines controlled by former mayor Phummisak Hongyok.

K. Phummisak, whose company, Anuphas & Sons, is developing the 1,510-rai Chao Fah City project, told the Gazette today that he is still supplying two-thirds of municipal water from two tin mines, free of charge.

The two mines have a total storage capacities of 1 million and 2 million cubic meters respectively.

But water from the smaller mine will be needed for the Chao Fah City project, he said.

The larger mine will continue to supply the City, but Anuphas & Sons will begin charging the city 2 baht a cubic meter for water around May next year.

“This will allow Phuket City to stand on its own,” said the former mayor.

Asked about the ongoing government investigation into former tin mine land, K. Phummisak said he didn’t know anything about it and that his tin mine land “doesn’t have any problems”.

Meanwhile, Phuket City Water Supply Department (WSD) says it has reduced the percentage of water lost due to leakage and other factors from 25% to 21% in the past two years and hopes to lower this figure eventually to less than 20%.

WSD Director Sawong Sri-in told the Gazette that losses for fiscal 2002 were 25%, reduced to 22% in fiscal 2003. Between October 2003 and July this year, the figure was lowered further, to 21%.

“We will continue to do the best we can, because reducing it to 21% is still not good enough,” he said. “It should be 20% or less.”

K. Sawong explained that it will be impossible to completely eliminate losses due to leakage and that the established limit, set nationally by the Department of Public Works and Town & Country Planning, was 29%.

He added that about one tenth of the water reported as “lost” was in fact provided unmetered to schools, temples and other similar users.

Additional losses resulted from blackouts – which require pipes to be flushed out so that the pumps can be restarted – and from theft by people who tap into mains illegally. “We don’t know how many people are doing this,” he admitted.

 

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