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Rain! But water row stops flow

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Rain! But water row stops flow | Thaiger

PHUKET TOWN: Heavy rains have boosted levels in Bang Wad reservoir but a debate over the cost of an electric pump is delaying a large project designed to ease the island’s chronic water shortage. As a result, the rights and wrongs were being thrashed out at a meeting in Bangkok today. The dispute involves two island water bodies, the Phuket Provincial Waterworks (PPW) and the Phuket Municipality Waterworks (PMW), and a contract signed by Wanchai Kuprasert, the Bangkok-based Governor of the Provincial Waterworks Authority (PWA) and Phuket Vice-Governor Pongpow Ketthong. Between January and July, a pumping system was installed to carry water from Klong Bang Yai to Bang Wad reservoir. Under an agreement made before the project began, the PPW was to meet 70% of the cost of the electricity needed to pump the water while the PMW was to pay 30%. The proportions were based on their statistical water usage ratios. Now the PPW has declined to pay. Suwin Anukul, Chief of Water Management and Irrigation System Improvement Branch told the Gazette today he had a fax outlining the arguments made by the PPW. The PMW, which provides water for Phuket Town, is happy to pay its 30%. But the PPW, which provides water for all of the island except Phuket Town, will only pay for 70% of the electricity if the water is free, the fax says. Both organizations currently pay .50 baht a cubic meter to Phuket Irrigation for their water. Recent monsoon rains have lifted Bang Wad’s reserves from 100,000 cubic meters to 720,000 cu m, relieving immediate shortages – including the need for rationing in Patong and Karon. But the total remains well short of the 5 million cu m required by year’s end if shortages are to be avoided from January. A rainmaking team, brought to the island to try to solve the crisis, flew back to Bangkok when the heavy rains began.


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