Water shortages imminent – ODPM Chief

PHUKET: The Phuket Provincial Office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (ODPM) has identified 43 areas in Phuket that are expected to suffer water shortages in upcoming weeks with some areas already trucking in emergency water supplies.

Some areas in Thalang are expected to run dry within days, said Phuket ODPM Chief Aroon Kerdsom.

“We know from previous years where the trouble spots will be, so we are monitoring these areas closely and have arranged with local administrative bodies to provide both potable and non-potable water to people in those areas,” he said.

The ODPM has already distributed some 180,000 liters of water free of charge.

People who run out of water should contact their local administration organization or district office to arrange for water to be supplied to their homes, he added.

K. Aroon told the Gazette that Pa Khlok in Thalang is the area of greatest concern to officials. “Thalang District has the greatest risk. Thirty-three of the risk areas we identified are located there. Many trouble spots are in coastal areas with limited groundwater resources,” said K. Aroon, adding that shortages were expected to begin is some of these areas within days.

Shortages are expected to be less severe in Kathu and Muang Districts, both of which have large areas supplied by municipal water piped from Bang Wad Reservoir in Kathu as well from tin mine lagoons.

A desalination plant now up and running in Karon is expected to solve chronic water shortages in Kata-Karon and boost supplies to water-hungry Patong, which suffers shortages for much of the year.

Koh Sireh was also identified as a risk area. Rassada Tambon Administration Organization is preparing to deal with shortages there, K. Aroon said.

In order to establish a municipal supply in Thalang, the Royal Irrigation Department is building a dam and reservoir at Bang Niew Dum in Thalang. Work on the project, designed to hold 7.2 million cubic meters of water, is expected to be completed in May, he added.

Although Thalang is the only district in Phuket that does not have provincial government supply, last year the provincial government spent 66 million baht on piping water from private tin mine ponds in Thalang six kilometers south to a tin mine in Kathu to supplement a Phuket Provincial Waterworks Office reserves.

However, there has been no public outcry from residents who rely on groundwater supplies there.

In a typical year, Phuket has about 2,500 millimeters of rain. Rainfall is lightest from December to March, which coincides with the high season for tourism when demand for water is highest.

So far Phuket has been able to avoid a major drought. In 2005 the downturn in tourism lowered demand enough to prevent Bang Wad reservoir from running dry, while 2006 had an unusually large amount of rain.

“There is currently enough water in Bang Wad dam to last until June,” said K. Aroon.

Phuket News

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