Deputy Government Spokeswoman Ratchada Thanadirek announced the news at the Prime Minister's Office yesterday (Sept 17).
Cabinet had approved six projects proposed by the national Provincial Waterworks Authority (PWA), Ms Ratchada announced.
One of the six was the B3.5bn plan to have a water pipeline from Phang Nga dedicated to supplying Phuket, Ms Ratchada said.
The PWA projects approved by Cabinet included five others to improve water supply and production in other areas of the country.
The projects were approved “to resolve raw water shortages, defective production systems and insufficient production capacity for people’s needs”, Ms Ratchada added.
PWA Phuket branch Manager Graisorn Mahamad told The Phuket News that he learned of the Cabinet approval only today (Sept 18).
“It is really good news that the government has approved this project. People will have water supply in the future,” he said.
“The budget will be a little bit more than B3.5 billion, because the costs in the proposal will now be a little out of date,” he said.
Mr Graisorn admitted that there is still a long way to go before the project will see water acutally delivered to Phuket from Phang Nga.
“I will know more details next week,” he said.
Under the plan explained by Mr Graisorn to The Phuket News earlier this year, the entire project is planned to be rolled out in two phases costing a budgeted B3,517,785,000, with Phase 1 alone costing B2.597bn.
Phase 1 will see a water-production station built to draw water from the Phang Nga Canal, which runs through Phang Nga Town.
“This will purify water and be able to supply Phuket about 3,000 cubic metres per hour,” Mr Graisorn noted, adding that the water will be dedicated to supplying Phuket only. (See story here.)
Phase 1A will see B846.266mn spent on building a water-producing station and a pump station in Phang Nga, and the beginning of water mains installation.
Phase 1B, costing B889.468mn, will see construction of a pump station building and pipe installation in Mai Khao, and Phase 1C will see B861.266mn spent on installing the water pump equipment, and more pipe installation, at the Mai Khao pump station.
The second phase of the project is expected to cost B920.785mn, with construction hoped to start in 2023, Mr Graisorn said.
Phase 2 will see water production in Phang Nga ramped up 5,000m3 per hour, he added.
The project will also require the PWA acquiring 100 rai for a new reservoir in Nop Pring in Phang Nga’s Muang District and five to 10 rai for each of three water-distribution stations: one in Mai Khao; one in Pa Khlok; and one in Kalai in Phang Nga’s Takua Thung District, on the north side of the bridge from Phuket.
The approval by Cabinet yesterday follows Phuket suffering ongoing water shortages across the island earlier this year as water levels at Phuket’s main reservoirs hit record lows.
Despite the Army and local municipalities rolling out tanker trucks to deliver emergency water supplies in hard hit areas across the island, the Phuket Provincial Government refused to decalre the situation a crisis, which would have allowed the government to use the provincial emergency disaster relief fund to help alleviate the suffering.
Meanwhile, despite Phuket now being five months into its annual six-month -long rainy season, water levels at the island's main reservoirs remain very low.
As of today (Sept 18), the Office of National Water Resources (ONWR) reports that Bang Wad reservoir in Kathu currently contains 1.56 million cubic metres (m3) of water, about 15.25% of its 10.2m m3 capacity.
Of that only 1.29m m3 is usable water, the ONWR noted.
Bang Neow Dum reservoir in Srisoonthorn currently contains 0.71mn m3 of water, about 9.82% of its 7.2mn m3 capacity.
Only 0.60mn m3 of that is usable water, the ONWR reported.