According to repeated reports published by the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department, Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana again ordered local municipalities to make sure residents in their respective areas are supplied water for household use.
At the meeting held at Provincial Hall yesterday afternoon (Apr 23), Rassada Municipality was specifically ordered to look after residents in its area.
Of note, that order came while residents from the Ua Arthorn (“Mercy for others”) housing estate in Baan Kuku, Rassada – which was built by the National Housing specifically for recognised low income earners – staged a protest literally in front of the hall while the meeting was being held.
The protest was staged after the residents had been without mains water supply for a month and had spent all the money they had saved in central fund on buying water from private operators themselves, with no assistance from officials. (See story here.)
According to the PR Dept report, representatives from the Ua Arthorn housing estate were present at the meeting, along with representatives from other poor communities in Rassada, while the protest was being staged outside.
Officials at the meeting were ordered to expedite their efforts in providing assistance to people left without water due to the ongoing water “restrictions” – described as the reduction in the mains water pressure – which has left many homes “in high areas” without running tap water.
“Phuket officials are drawing up a plan to help people in the dry season. The plan is to provide help for 50 days,” said the report, presumably on the understanding that by then the annual rains should have returned.
“Right now Phuket Province has already prepared 15 water trucks to help people. Local administrations will set up complaint centres so people can inform them that they have no water, and local officials will coordinate with the PWA (Phuket office of the Provincial Waterworks Authority) in order to inform the PWA which areas need water to be supplied,” it added.
The report noted that 15 water trucks were currently available to deliver water to needed areas:
- Rassada Municipality: three water trucks (7,000-litre capacity each)
- Phuket Waterworks Authority: seven water trucks (6,000L each)
- Department of Disaster Prevention and Migration (DDPM) Region 18 office: two trucks (10,000L each)
- Department of Rural Roads, Phuket Office: two trucks (6,000L each)
- Department of Water Resources Region 10, Surat Thani Office: one truck (6,000L)
“Phuket officials place high importance on continually taking care of our brothers and sisters in the community. Phuket Province is united with local administrative officials in hurrying to help people who have no water as soon as possible,” Governor Phakaphong said.
Governor Phakaphong made special mention of “our brothers and sisters living in Karn Keha Rassada (in full, the Karn Keha Ua Athorn national housing estate in Rassada), which has 702 units, with 1,500 people living there.”
“I command Rassada Municipality and officials from other administrative organisations to rush to solve the problem for our brother and sister residents.
“Today we will have water dispatched to our brothers and sister residents in the community, through the support of the clean water from the PWA and their water trucks, and the water trucks from several other government offices,” he said.
In accordance with Ministry of Interior regulations, Rassada Municipality will “support the cost of the fuel for the water trucks provided by other municipalities,” Governor Phakaphong noted.
“Right now we have 10 water trucks ready,” he said, according to the report – despite early saying that 15 water trucks were ready to provide assistance.
“We will not charge residents any costs for emergency water provided,” the governor assured.
However, he added, “But when it comes to their water bills, residents will still have to pay the standard meter fees, which is only B70 per month.”
Governor Phakaphong also ordered Rassada Municipality to survey water demand needs of several specific communities in Rassada – Hon Sai Thong, Baan Kuku, Ruam Pattana, located behind Supanimit Village, Soi King Kaew and Koh Siray Moo 1 – in order to determine how much water needed to be provided to those areas.
“Then Rassada Municipality can identify where water-distribution points can be set up, and using a budget from the Ministry of Interior install and large tanks so residents in each community can come and collect water for use in their homes,” he said.
After the meeting, Governor Phakaphong held yet another press conference, where he explained that the Phuket Provincial Office, of which he is the head, is working with other government agencies in order to provide water management to be enough “for the ‘nearly’ drought crisis (sic).”
The number of areas affected by the “drought situation” is spreading across the island, with more and more people not having water to use, Governor Phakaphong admitted.
He said that he had been in a meeting, or several or many meetings, to discuss the situation with relevant officials in order to fix the water-shortage problems.
This press conference was to announce that he had met with Phuket PWA Branch Manager Graisorn Mahamad, Phuket Provincial Irrigation Office Director Somsawat Chaisinsod, the District Chiefs from all three Phuket districts – Muang, Kathu and Thalang – among “other representatives from relevant government departments and members of the community” and so on.
Also mentioned among the notables present was Win Sitthichane, Chief of the Department of Local Administration Phuket office operating directly under the Ministry of Interior.
In this message to the media, Governor Phakaphong explained, “Phuket Province has issued an urgent notice to all three District Chiefs and heads of local administrative organisations for them to find water in their own areas for their own residents.”
“Do let let there be any complaints about the water situation,” he added.
“If you have any problems with taking action, you must report the problem to the District Chief for your area immediately, and inform DDPM-Phuket office and the Phuket Provincial Development Office – every time,” he said.
“And so local administrations are to follow the DDPM in fixing the drought problems by themselves,” Governor Phakaphong added.
“Local administrations are to let the people know when and where water will be made available, and they must set up complaint centres that are open 24 hours, and report the water situation in their areas to the Phuket Provincial Office every day at 4pm – starting today (Apr 23), until further notice,” he added.
The PR report of the press conference noted that total rainfall across Phuket from January to March was only 86.5 millimeters.
Also, the report noted that the PWA had confirmed that the water being released from the Bang Neow Dum reservoir in Srisoonthorn has been reduced from 26,000 cubic meters per day down to 17,000m3 per day.
Meanwhile, water being released from Bang Wad reservoir in Kathu has been reduced from 36,000m3 per day to 24,000m3 per day, the report said.
While focusing on Kathu District, the report also noted that three privately owned water sources in Kathu had been secured to provide water to the PWA for distribution to residents: the Kathu Floating Market pond, the Tak Dad pond and the Fad (“Twin”) ponds.
However, the PWA had not secured any extra water sources to supplement water supply in Muang district, the report said.
Phuket City Municipality has reduced the water it draws from Bang Wad reservoir from 18,000m3 per day to not more than 12,000m3 per day, the report said.
The water being released from the Khlong Katha reservoir in Chalong stands at 5,000m3 per day, the report noted, but gave no indication of whether that rate showed any reduction in the water being distributed from there.