Phuket makes waves: Forum tackles island’s watery woes

Picture courtesy of PR Phuket

Thailand’s popular island destination of Phuket held a forum to discuss the region’s persistent water issues, led by Secretary-General of the Office of National Water Resources (OWNR), Dr Surasee Kittimonthon. The forum, which took place yesterday, was attended by over 300 individuals, including Phuket Vice Governor Amnuay Pinsuwan and Phuket Chamber of Commerce President Kongsak Khuphongsakorn.

Dr Surasee later joined another similar event at the Dara Hotel in Wichit. The purpose of these gatherings was to solicit feedback, opinions, and suggestions from locals on the integrated master plan to solve flood-drought problems. The ONWR asserted its readiness to engage with tourism business operators to expedite water-saving measures in the tourism and service sectors.

Dr Surasee noted that Phuket was among the initial provinces in Thailand to draft water-resource management master plans at the Subdistrict (Tambon) level. The forum was intended to garner public opinions on the master plan study project and to hear suggestions on the preliminary projects drawn from the plan, which outlined more than 400 ready-to-deploy projects.

The official report stated that implementing these projects would enable the government to quickly address urgent issues in the area and use it as a model to replicate the results of project implementation in each aspect of water resource management that supports the development strategy of Phuket Province until 2037.

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Three urgent projects were highlighted: The improvement of the quality of the village water supply in Pa Khlok, the Tha Maphrao Canal Dredging Project, and a project to construct a weir to reduce water flow and soil erosion in the upper area of the Kathu Waterfall community, reported The Phuket News.

Surprisingly, the report did not address the crucial issue of Phuket releasing nearly 55,000 cubic metres of untreated wastewater per day, a fact confirmed by Dr Surasee during his visit to Phuket just two weeks ago.

Tourism business operators emphasised the urgency of resolving Phuket’s ongoing water supply and flooding issues for the tourism sector. Current projections estimate that Phuket’s demand for water supply will rise to around 100 million cubic metres by 2037. The growing number of tourists visiting Phuket only exacerbates the problem, a fact Dr Surasee understood and addressed during his previous visit.

“The appropriate solutions must be consistent with the context in each area experiencing problems. It can help reduce and eliminate problems in water resource management in Phuket Province.”

A variety of suggestions were proposed to help reduce water use and wastewater, including encouraging hotels to reuse towels, install water meters in showers, and maintain pipes on their premises to reduce leakage. These measures would significantly alleviate Phuket’s water-related issues, according to Dr Surasee.

“Conducting water conservation campaigns for the tourism business sector will also create soft power for the tourism sector in another way, through the promotion of sustainable water development and management.”

He endorsed these water-saving measures as simple and immediate solutions that would enhance awareness of sustainable water use in the future.

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Phuket News

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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