The Kamala Tambon Administration Organisation (OrBorTor) announced yesterday that it will start providing free emergency water to residents from today (Apr 26).
Free water will be delivered to different neighbourhoods and villagers (moo baan) on alternating days, with each household in need to receive no more than 400 litres per delivery.
In order to have the water delivered, house owners must register first, the Kamala OrBorTor explained. (See story here)
However, one local long-term expat resident in Kamala explained to The Phuket News this morning that the Kamala OrBorTor had refused to supply free emergency water to the condominium project where he lives.
A representative from the company that is the legally registered estate manager for the condo project had contacted Kamala OrBorTor as the projected is located in Moo 6, the foreigner explained.
The estate manager wanted to register to have the free emergency water delivered, he said.
“The OrBorTor rejected to register us for free emergency water and said this offer is for Thai local residents only. All others do not get emergency water,” he added.
Kamala OrBorTor Deputy Chief Nopporn Karuna confirmed the policy to The Phuket News this morning (Apr 26).
“Foreigners can get free emergency water if they have their own house and are registered on the house registration document (tabien baan),” Mr Nopporn explained.
“I have already overseen water being delivered to foreigners with their own houses in Kamala,” he said.
“But if they rent a house, they must ask the house owner to register to have the water delivered for them,” Mr Nopporn added.
However, Mr Nopporn made it clear: “The Kamala OrBorTor will provide (free emergency) water to local residents in houses first. For condos and hotels, the property owners (or managers) must organise their own water by themselves.”
Mr Nopporn said that the policy is the result of Kamala OrBorTor having to buy water and then in turn provide it for free to residents who are left without running water due to the water-supply restrictions now in force across the island.
“The Kamala OrBorTor does not have its own water ponds – we must buy it ourselves from other sources. It costs us B500 for 6,000 litres,” he said.
FREE BY FORCE
Local authorities were ordered to provide free emergency water to residents in their areas by Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana on Tuesday (Apr 23).
However, Governor Phakaphong also ordered local authorities to fund the provision of emergency water themselves as he has not yet declared Phuket as experiencing a “drought crisis”, as he said that doing so was not yet necessary.
He also made it plain: “Only the Phuket Governor can declare whether or not we are in a crisis situation.”
However, declaring a “drought crisis” would allow the Phuket Provincial Office, which is headed by the Governor, to access a disaster relief fund to use in order to provide assistance to people affected by the current water-shortage situation. (See story here.)
Despite the Governor’s understanding of the situation, the Royal Thai Army started rolling in water trucks to deliver emergency water supplies to hard-hit communities in Phuket on Wednesday. (See story here.)
Among the first to receive water relief were residents in Rassada, where thousands of people living in poor communities have been left without running water due to the water restrictions – described by officials as “reductions in mains water pressure”.
The lack of water sparked a protest on Tuesday by residents of the Ua Arthorn estate in Rassada, angered by the lack of action to resolve the ongoing water situation. (See story here.)
The estate was, which has more than 700 units in 16 tower blocks, is home to some 1500 people. It was built by the National Housing Authority specifically for low-income earners.
The Phuket Waterworks Authority on Tuesday confirmed that the move to “reduce mains water pressure” has been now ramped up in the hope of making what little water remains in the island’s three main reservoirs – already at historic low levels – last as long as possible, hopefully until the annual wet season rains return next month.
As of last Thursday (Apr 18), the best estimate by Somsawat Chaisinsorn, Director of Phuket Provincial Irrigation Office, was that Phuket had enough water to last 39 more days.
That estimate came under doubt as only six days earlier Mr Somsawat said that Phuket had enough water to last 33 more days. (See story here.)
Regardless, Governor Phakaphong said on Tuesday: “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.” (See story here.)
Governor Phakaphong also expressed his concern for the image of the ongoing water shortages being presented in the media.
“Saying that Phuket is suffering a drought is not accurate information to people. It is a misunderstanding,” he said.
“If media presents information that is beyond the facts, then that can lead to our tourism image being affected. It does not look good, so we are willing to explain and extend the information available,” he added.
“We are able to manage the water so there is enough for the people,” Governor Phakaphong assured. (See story here.)