As heavens open, Phuket water supply restored

PHUKET: As the rain continues to soak Phuket today (Apr 30), the Chief of the Phuket office of the Provincial Waterworks Authority (PWA) has confirmed that water pressure in mains supply pipes to residents and businesses across most of the island has been restored to near full normal pressure.

By Tanyaluk Sakoot

Tuesday 30 April 2019, 05:44PM

The news comes following heavy downpours late Saturday night, which returned to douse the island yesterday and today.

On Saturday night, the Phuket Town area enjoyed some 78.4mm of rainfall, mostly within a three-hour period, Roongrawee Aonkot, Director of Southern Meteorological Center (West Coast) office of the Thai Meteorological Department (TMD) confirmed yesterday. (See story here.)

At last report, last Wednesday (Apr 23), Phuket had enjoyed only 86.5mm of rainfall across the whole island since the beginning of the year.

That figure came as Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana ordered all local administrations to ensure that all residents had access to emergency household water supply, despite the Governor assuring that Phuket was not in a “drought crisis”. (See story here.)

However, despite the Governor's assurance, the Army rolled out emergency water supplies to communities that had been without tap water for a month (see story here).

The island’s reservoirs had hit the lowest levels ever recorded and the water supply was continually being reduced in a bid to make what water was left in the island's three main reservoirs lasted as long as possible. (See story here.)

Meanwhile, the supply of emergency water continued across the island. As recently as Saturday (Apr 27), the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command rolled out some 54,000 litres of emergency supply water to households in need in Wichit.

Even the Royal Rainmakers from the Southern Royal Rainmaking Operation Center in Surat Thani were standby in Phuket ready to try again to create rain despite three failed attempts since Mar 29. (See story here.)

Then the rain came.

Phuket PWA Branch Manager Graisorn Mahamad told The Phuket News today (Apr 30), “Water pressure in the mains supply pipes has been restored back to nearly full.

“Most flat areas in Phuket supplied by mains pipes have about 90% pressure. However, some areas in elevated parts, such as in Rassada, might still not have full pressure,” he added.

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In explaining why the Soi Kingkaew area in Rassada, which is at sea level, has been suffering without running water due to “reduced pressure”, Mr Graisorn noted that the mains pipes that supply the impoverished neighbourhood must cross over hills to reach the area.

Mr Graisorn today also explained that the return to near-normal water pressure for most areas comes from supply being boosted from extra sources being used to provide water, not from Bang Wad reservoir in Kathu, the island’s main reservoir for public water supply.

“Bang Wad is now just under 10% full, which is not enough for us to be comfortable with supply full water pressure. We will restore the pressure to 100% when Bang Wad reaches 50% capacity,” he said.

“Because of the heavy rainfall over the past few days, we can now get water a lot from the Bang Yai Canal (in the hills in Kathu, before it reaches heavily populated areas). That is where we are getting the water to fill our extra water sources,” he said.

Saturday alone saw Bang Wad receive about 40,000 cubic meters of water from directly from rainfall, Mr Graisorn noted.

“When you add the extra water we pumped into the reservoir from official water sources, Ban Wad was boosted by about 75,000m3 just on Saturday,” he added.

The water levels at the three main reservoirs on the island are still low but rising, Mr Graisorn, explained.

As of today (Apr 30), the three reservoirs have enough water to last the island and estimated 32 days, according to the latest readings.

Bang Wad reservoir currently contains an estimated 0.82 million m3 of its 10mn-plus m3 capacity, Mr Graisorn said.

The Bang Neow Dum reservoir in Srisoonthorn, which also serves much of the Cherng Talay area, contains about 0.77mn m3 of water, and the Khlong Kratha reservoir contains about 0.97mn m3 of water of its 4.2mn m3 capacity, Mr Graisorn confirmed.



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