Krabi’s Phi Phi islands tackle severe freshwater shortage

Picture courtesy of Ao Nang OrBortor

The Phi Phi Islands, a prominent tourist attraction in Krabi, are grappling with a severe shortage of freshwater. The local authorities are exploring potential solutions, with two options under consideration – a pipeline bringing water from the mainland or the production of freshwater from the sea, according to the Ao Nang Tambon Administration Organisation (OrBorTor).

Phankham Kittitorakul, President of Ao Nang OrBorTor, highlighted the recurring lack of tap water during the dry season. This period coincides with the tourist high season, exacerbating the situation over the past few years. To address this, Ao Nang OrBorTor has received funding to investigate these two possible solutions.

The urgency of the situation is underscored by the fact that Water Hill Co Ltd, a private company providing tap water to households, businesses, restaurants, hotels, and resorts on the Phi Phi Islands, is on the verge of exhausting its water reserve. The company anticipates that its capacity to provide water to customers will cease by tomorrow.

Following this, it will distribute water for two hours a day until its reserve is replenished by rainfall or completely depleted, necessitating further adaptations.

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Adding to the crisis, the artesian well and water reserve of Ao Nang OrBorTor, which supplies raw water to private companies for tap water production, are also depleted. Consequently, water prices have skyrocketed to 200 baht (US$5.4) per cubic metre. This situation is expected to hit households and small businesses that lack private artesian wells the hardest.

However, larger hotels, resorts, and businesses on the islands appear to be unaffected by the water shortage, as they possess their artesian wells. These wells are expected to provide sufficient tap water to visitors.

The water shortages in Krabi are escalating, according to Ittichai Tanbutr, Vice President of the Pattana Krabi (Krabi Development) group. He disclosed that the Provincial Waterworks Authority’s office in the province has been compelled to reduce water pressure and limit water distribution in many areas since April 11, reported The Phuket News.

Ittichai urged the government to systematically and sustainably address the water scarcity problem. The Phi Phi islands, comprising Phi Phi Don, Phi Phi Lay, and several smaller islets, are amongst the province’s most frequented tourist destinations.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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