Quake worry sparks reservoir rethink

PHUKET: Plans to build a dam at Bang Niew Dum in Thalang District have been ditched and new plans are being drawn so that the dam will be more resistant to earthquake tremors.

Wit Wonggamonchoon, Chief of the Surat Thani-based Irrigation Construction Region 5 office, told the Gazette, “The earthquake off Indonesia was 9.5 on the Richter scale.” Shocks from the quake measured 0.5 on the scale in the Bang Niew Dum area,” he said. “Our engineers said that it would have damaged the dam [if it had already been built to the original plans].

“We are changing the plans to make sure that the dam wall extends further down into the rock so it can withstand tremors of up to 0.9 on the Richter scale,” he said.

K. Wit said that the extra construction would raise the cost of building the dam from 385 million baht to 500 million baht.

“We have already received 77 million baht of [the original] 385-million-baht budget, and we will receive all of the remaining budget in the next two years.”

“We will finish drawing up the new design by the end of March. We expect to start construction at the end of 2005, and expect to complete everything by the end of 2008,” he said.

When complete, the reservoir will have a capacity of 7.2 million cubic meters.

He added that the deeper base will also help reduce water loss from seepage through the pervious tin mining soil the dam will be built on.

Meanwhile, Irrigation Project Director Watchara Arpornsiri has urged Phuket residents to be careful not to waste water.

After a meeting on Thursday at the Royal Irrigation Department in Bangkok, he said, “The amount of water that people in Phuket use is still too much (for current water reserves to cope with) because we have a lot of new properties and this year the rainy season is expected to start late, sometime in May.”

However, he added, “I don’t think that we will have water shortages this year if the rains come in May. We have already taken steps to ensure there will be enough water to last until about mid-June, but after that we would have to buy water from the private sector.”

Phuket News

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