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Old shrine surfaces as Bang Wad reservoir hits bottom

Old shrine surfaces as Bang Wad reservoir hits bottom

PHUKET: Heavy isolated showers this week have helped restore some water back into Phuket’s main reservoirs, but more is needed, Provincial Waterworks Authority (PWA) Chief Graisorn Mahamad has told The Phuket News.

Water-Supplyweather
By The Phuket News

Saturday 18 April 2020, 12:20PM


As of Mar 24, Bang Wad reservoir, the island’s main water source, contained just 850,000 cubic metres of water – or 8.3% of its full capacity. At that time, the water in the reservoir was expected to last just 17 days. (See story here.)

Now the reservoir contains just 80,000m3 of water, Mr Graisorn has confirmed.

“Previously we used about 20,000m3 of water from the reservoir per day. That was reduced to 10,000m3 a day, which means we will be able to use water from the reservoir for about eight [more] days,” he explained.

“If the rains continue [like this week], we would be able to continue to use water [from the reservoir],” Mr Graisorn said.

Water levels at Bang Wad have fallen so much that an old shrine at the bottom of the reservoir has become visible. 

Photos of the shrine posted online this week prompted Pairote Khamthon, chief of the Phuket Irrigation Office, which is responsible for maintaining water reserves on the island, to go public with information about the water level at Bang Wad on Thursday (Apr 16).

“The Toh Tha Mee Shrine was there when the dam was built. When the reservoir was flooded, a new shrine was built on a hill in the centre of the reservoir and the gods were invited there,” Mr Pairote said.

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“During [the drought of] 2002 - 2003, the water level at the Bang Wad reservoir was even less than it is now, but no one noticed the shrine,” Mr Pairote noted.

The reason the water level was so low was because of the volume of water that the PWA needed to draw from the reservoir in order to serve island residents and businesses, and because of the lack of rain the island has had since the drought began, he said.

Photos of the dry, cracked ground at the reservoir were no cause for alarm, Mr Pairote assured

“This is because there is little water and the sun burns [the earth] until it cracks. That is a normal condition and does not adversely affect how much water is left. It is not a danger sign,” he added.

Meanwhile, Phuket PWA Chief Mr Graisorn explained that the water serving residents now is being provided from private water sources, which his office has been orgainsing since last year.

While not acknowledging that those sources may have been running dry, the PWA late last month announced two new sources had been sourced to supply water. (See here.)

Mr Graison told The Phuket News yesterday, “If the situation does not improve, the PWA will use water from other private water sources, which have now been negotiated and we have started to use two such sources, and we will find more.”

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