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Phuket Opinion: A trillion litres of ignorance

PHUKET: “Drought-like conditions” are upon us yet again, and like clockwork around this time every year during the region’s hottest and driest period, cue in the headlines reminding all of the “dire situation”.

By The Phuket News

Sunday 27 March 2016, 07:00AM

A Phuket resident protesting the water shortage last year holds a sign that reads

A Phuket resident protesting the water shortage last year holds a sign that reads

In the wake of the months-long hiatus of sustained showers that we so heavily rely on to replenish our wells, water retention holes and reservoirs, supplies of the precious life-giving resource are critically limited. So please everyone, conserve water – tis the same, simple message this year as last year, which will likely be echoed again come March and April, 2017.

Though Phuket is not yet among the handful of provinces that have officially been declared by the Royal Thai Government as drought-stricken, many residents across the island need no formalities to confirm that supply at their respective homes and neighbourhoods is simply insufficient to sustain “usual” comfort.

Crying foul, some report of insufficient water pressure to afford a simple shower; others have shared smartphone pics of brown liquid spewing from their faucets. Indeed, the island’s open-sewer waterways are blackening, their stench growing stronger by the day as the province’s main wastewater treatment plants have been capped on the amount of flushing fluid allocated.

Luckily for Phuket’s tourism image, it is only some residential communities on the fringes who have had to “take one for the team” thus far. For we certainly couldn’t afford guests in any one of the island’s 90,000 accommodation options sharing negative water experiences once they leave paradise.


And we can only encourage the government to continue to crack down on illegal and unregistered businesses dodging the tax man. After all, it is these taxes that ultimately fund waterworks and other much-needed infrastructure development to keep up with Phuket’s rapid growth.

Meanwhile, for more than half of the year, this island is blessed with more water than we could ever need. According to statistics from the Thai Meteorological Department, Phuket’s average annual rain-fall (10 years: 2005-2014) stands at 2,357 millimetres. And since each millimetre of rain can be converted to one litre of water per square metre of area, and Phuket spans 543 square kilometres, it can thus be extrapolated that well over a trillion litres of water falls from thin air onto Phuket annually.

And though a tiny bit of this is collected and stored for a dry day, most of it goes to waste. Happy harvesting come the May monsoons!



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Richard Vickers | 28 March 2016 - 17:39:44

Yes, this is what happens in the absence of planning and land use management.  Thais can't sell it off fast enough, and developers can't cover it with crappy developments fast enough. Absolutely no consideration for watershed management and groundwater replenishment, let alone any infrastructural improvements to accommodate the increase in trash and sewage...etc.  This is all part of short...

Kurt | 28 March 2016 - 10:40:33

Seahorse & Christy Sweet:  The both of you are very right!

You both share the feeling about waterholes/lake views filled up.
And both other reasons:  Bigger population less water & property values evaporate, both are true as well.

Point is that Phuket government does not know how to establish a environment concept in which is clearly sett about how much electricity capacity we have,...

Christy Sweet | 28 March 2016 - 08:56:44

Seahorse, The  Laguna area has many reservoirs. The real issue is homeowners seeing their lake views filled in while property values evaporate.

Seahorse | 27 March 2016 - 13:10:44

And yet in both Cherngtalay and Laguna 
existing waterholes are being infilled
for building sites. Bigger population less water. 
Can someone explain logic? 

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