Koh Kaew Tambon Administrative Organisation (OrBorTor) Chief Khuakiet Chitkhua told The Phuket News, “Yesterday and today (Mar 6-7), I received complaints from residents saying that the water supply was weak, and some did not have water supply at all.
"To help solve the problem, we have placed four tanks – each holding 2,000 litres of water – in four locations in Moo 4 and Moo 5 in Koh Kaew, where residents have started to suffer from the lack of tap water and low pressure water supply,” he said.
“People who need water can ask us for help. We have already bought 20 of these tanks, and we are willing to increase that to 50 tanks in total in case we need them,” Mr Khuakiet said.
WARNINGS AND DENIAL
To warn other residents of the problem, Koh Kaew OrBorTor this morning posted a notice explaining that water restrictions were already in effect in the area, since Monday (Mar 4) – the same day that residents started to experience reduced water supply.
The notice explained, “The PWA will release water flow on odd dates as (follows): Cherng Talay, Kamala, Mai Khao, Sakoo, Thepkrasattri, Srisoonthorn, Pa Klok, Koh Kaew (some areas), Thalang. Water flow will be from 6am (of the odd date) until 6am the next day.
“Even day areas are: Koh Kaew (some areas), Rassada, Koh Siray, Muang district Phuket. Water flow will be from 6am (of the even date) until 6am the next day. The alternate water flow on odd and even dates starts from 4 Mar 2019 until the situation is fine.”
It also urged people to conserve as much water as possible.
However, the notice was pulled down from the Koh Kaew OrBorTor’s official Facebook page within hours.
The measures announced in the notice this morning echoed those announced on Feb 5, which were later publicly declared by Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana as erroneous – and based on a “misunderstanding”.
However, Mr Khuakiat explained to The Phuket News that the notice posted this morning was based on information given by the PWA – a fact the Phuket PWA Chief Graisorn Mahamad denies.
“The post on Facebook was from information from the Provincial Waterworks Authority office for Phuket, saying that they will release the water on alternate days,” Mr Khuakiat said.
“I spoke on the phone with the Phuket Provincial Waterworks Manager who told me that they were just testing the water supply, that there may be alternating days for water distribution in pairs and odd days.
“I asked for the information that was provided so I could inform local residents. The manager of the Provincial Waterworks Authority of Phuket said it,” Mr Khuakiat assured.
However, after receiving a call from The Phuket News this morning to confirm the water restrictions, Mr Khuakiat had his staff call the PWA again to confirm that notice.
This time the answer was different – and of odd coincidence saw an identical repeat of the “misunderstanding” that water-saving measures would be introduced that happened last month, and resulted in the Governor making public statements to the contrary.
"My staff told me that the PWA now said that the announcement was not official, so we had to delete the post from the Facebook page,” Mr Khuakiat explained.
“So I called the Phuket Provincial Waterworks Manager again and told him that I need details about any water rations in the Koh Kaew area, to please give us details about the water supply so I could inform our residents.
“I am still waiting for an official notice from the PWA,” Mr Khuakiat said.
“At this time, we want Phuket Governor to help and support us and to come up with a long-term plan to solve the water problem," Mr Khuakiet added.
Meanwhile, contacted by The Phuket News earlier today, PWA Chief Mr Graisorn said that he knew about the Koh Kaew water-supply problems, but offered no explanation of why there “might have been” any change in water pressure in the area.
He did assure that no changes had been made yet.
“I have a plan for water management to last us through the dry season, but it is still only a plan – it has not yet been presented to the Governor (for approval)” he said.
Regarding Mr Khuakiat’s explanation that the water-restriction notice posted by the Koh Kaew OrBorTor this morning was based on his conversation with the “Phuket Provincial Waterworks Manager”, PWA Chief Mr Graisorn told The Phuket News this afternoon, “I have no idea where he got this notice. He must of got it from somewhere else. It is an old image.”
Meanwhile, many residents in Koh Kaew remain without water supply, and this afternoon the Koh Kaew OrBorTor posted another notice, this time reading:
‘Drought disaster warning’
To all brothers and sisters in Koh Kaew and nearby areas, because Phuket Province is facing drought disaster problems that have seen Bang Neow and Bang Wad water reserve levels decrease so quickly, making it likely there will not be enough water for public supply for everyone to use as usual in their daily lives, we urge all people in Koh Keaw and nearby areas to use water sparingly so that the water in the reservoirs will be enough to last us though the drought.