“Phuket City Municipality needs to ask for cooperation from residents to prepare for water shortages,” Mayor Somjai said on Monday (Mar 12).
“Residents should use water economically and check for water leaks. If a pipe breaks or starts leaking, please fix it as soon as possible to reduce unnecessary water loss.
“Also, we urge residents to keep a reserve of water in the house in case any water supply shut-offs are introduced to conserve water use,” she added.
“If we start running out of water reserves, we will need to start rationing how much water we supply,” Mayor Somjai warned.
Mayor Somjai noted that she had been informed of the current state of water-supply reserves that currently serve Phuket City residents, and the news was good.
The city’s water reserves currently stand at 90% capacity, compared with 70% capacity at the same time last year.
“Phuket City Municipality can currently supply up to 23,000 cubic meters of water per day,” she said.
“The main water source is Bang Wad reservoir, which currently contains 9,259,058 cubic meters of water,” Mayor Somjai noted.
“Raw water held in municipality lagoons remains at 948,976 cubic meters, the lagoon at Suan Luang (or King Rama IX park) is at 213,262 cubic meters, the lagoon in front of Vachira Phuket Hospital is at 167,522 cubic meters, and the lagoon along Soi Paniang is at 64,000 cubic meters,” she added.
Phuket’s water reserves were bolstered by a much wetter than usual January.
The weather-monitoring station at Phuket International Airport set a new record for rainfall for January this year with 271mm of rainfall during the month, surpassing the previous record of 200.9mm set in January last year.
Phuket Airport this year also set a new record for the wettest day in January at that weather station, with a soaking 120.8mm of rainfall within the 24 hours of Jan 22, easily breaking the previous record of 95.2mm of rainfall set on Jan 28, 2016.
The TMD has been been keeping weather records at the airport since the facility was given offical status as an international airport in 1952.
However, Mayor Somjai’s call to conserve water comes as Phuket stands to enjoy very little rain until the annual southwestern monsoon returns in May, marking the start of the rainy season.
According to the Thai Meteorological Department forecast until the end of April, temperatures across the country are expected to be on average 0.5ºC above normal – with exception of the Northeast, which is forewarned of extremely high temperatures reaching up to 43ºC this hot season.
Meanwhile, in March total rain nationwide is expected to be 10% lower than normal. (See report here.)
Mayor Somjai warned that water rationing will be implemented if water reserves run low during the dry season.
“If need be, Phuket City Municipality will reduce water-supply pressure, which will leave some residents with reduced water pressure and some residents without water supply at all,” she said.
If water rationing is introduced, the water supply pressure throughout the town will be reduced at certain areas from 10am to 4pm and other areas from 10pm to 4am, and restored to normal pressure during the hours in between, she explained.
“At this stage we have not set any dates to implement water rationing, but if we do need to start reducing our water consumption, we will make public announcements,” she added.
The municipality will set up emergency water supply centres at three locations in case residents need water for their houses during the coming dry season, Mayor Somjai noted.
The first centre will be at the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office on Kra Rd; the second will be “at Soi Paniang on Yaowarat Rd” (exact location not clarified); and the third will be at the Phuket City Municipality Water Purification Plant at Suan Luang.
“Residents in need can contact the Phuket Drought Prevention and Mitigation Emergency Operations Centre by calling 199 or 076-211111, or they can call the Phuket City Municipality hotline at 1132,” Mayor Somjai explained.
“We are also ready to provide assistance to people whose homes are without water because of broken or leaky pipes. People can call the Phuket City Municipality Waterworks Authority at 076-211130 anytime, 24 hours,” she added.
FOR RAIN OR SHINE
The help boost water supply reserves for the dry season, Phuket City Municipality is drawing up plans to create a large “Monkey Cheek” reservoir to draw water from Bang Yai Canal, which runs through Phuket Town.
The move will also protect Phuket Town from flooding during the rainy season, with last year’s floods the worst on record. (See story here.)
Sirapob Nareerak of the Public Works Division at Phuket City Municipality told The Phuket News yesterday (March 13) that Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong asked to be brought up to speed on the project at a meeting only last week.
The reservoir is to be located about 1.3 kilometres from Saphan Hin and is included under the provincial “Phuket Bay Development Plan”, which a joint project by Phuket City Municipality, the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (PPAO, OrBorJor) and the Phuket Provincial Office, Mr Sirapob explained.
The meeting last week, held last Thursday (March 8), covered issues including the design, environmental impact and preparation of the budget allocation from relevant agencies, he added.
“At this stage the project is still just an initial concept before the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is begun. We need government support to develop it.
“This project will be proposed for approval in April this year, but it will take time to complete the EIA and even with approval at this stage looks like it will take about seven years to complete.
“We cannot even estimate the cost of building the new reservoir. We will be able to do that only after the EIA is complete,” Mr Sirapob added.
– Jirarat Rakjamroon