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Save Water! Water flow from Phuket’s Bang Wad reservoir already cut by 25%, to be halved from New Year

Save Water! Water flow from Phuket’s Bang Wad reservoir already cut by 25%, to be halved from New Year

PHUKET: Water supply from Bang Wad reservoir, the island’s main water source, was reduced by 25% last Friday (Nov 1), and will be reduced to half its regular flow from Jan 1, the busiest week for tourism on the island for the whole year.

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By The Phuket News

Saturday 9 November 2019, 09:00AM


The move comes as water officials take drastic measures in the hope of making water reserves last until the annual monsoon rains return in earnest next May – and leaving the island dependent on supply from private water sources until then.

“The water we have at the three main reservoirs now is not enough to last through the whole dry season next year (2020),” the chief of the Phuket office of the Provincial Waterworks Authority (PWA), Graisorn Mahamad, admitted this week.

“We urge everyone to start conserving how much water they use as much as possible,” he said.

The Office National Water Resources (ONWR) ordered Mr Graisorn and his office to immediately take steps to conserve water following ONWR Secretary-General Somkiat Prajamwong arriving in Phuket in person Monday last week (Oct 28) to deliver his message personally. (See story here.)

“Plus the Phuket Provincial Irrigation Office [PPIO] has reduced how much water being released from Bang Wad reservoir. Previously, it was 20,000 cubic metres a day, last Friday it was reduced to 15,000m3 a day,” Mr Graisorn explained.

The PPIO is responsible for maintaining and regulating the water levels at the island’s main reservoirs, while Mr Graisorn and the Phuket PWA office is responsible for distributing it.

“Next, the water released from Bang Wad reservoir will be reduced to 10,000m3 per day, starting on January 1,” Mr Graisorn confirmed.

The bad news doesn’t stop there.

“Next week, the PPIO will ban the PWA from using any water from the Bang Neow Dum reservoir as any water there now will be held back for use in case of emergency,” he said.

Phuket PWA Deputy Manager Thamrak Kumpech told The Phuket News, “It’s hard to predict how much people will suffer from this, but it will affect people living in high areas and near the end of supply network.

“We will probably be able to better estimate the situation at the end of December. If there is not enough water in the reservoirs then, we will start thinking about water rations,” he said.

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Water supplied from private sources, which the PWA began securing in the aftermath of the water crisis in Phuket earlier this year, is hoped to deliver enough water for the coming months, though Mr Graisorn has his doubts.

Bang Wad reservoir as of Wednesday contained 3.274mn m3 of its 10.2mn-plus m3 capacity. “This is enough to last 72 days [at current usage rates],” Mr Graisorn said.

To supplement that supply, the PWA has signed contracts with five private water source owners to provide about 12,600m3 of water per day to supply homes and businesses served by Bang Wad reservoir. The contracts last five years and total B325 million, he explained.

Although Bang Neow Dum reservoir in Srisoonthorn, Thalang, currently contains about 0.69mn m3 of its 7.2mn m3 capacity, that water will be off-limits as of next week, Mr Graisorn repeated.

“We have contracted three private water source owners to provide about 16,400m3 per day to serve those connected to water supplied by the Bang Neow Dum reservoir, and we have constructed a temporary weir along the Jea-Sa canal in Cherng Talay which we can use to help serve people in the area,” he said.

The three contracts each last for five years and cost the PWA about B260mn, he added.

“All this water from private sources we can use now. The total cost of sourcing water from private owners costs about B585 million. But all this private water goes directly to people’s homes, none of it can be used to refill the reservoirs,” Mr Graisorn explained.

“If the private water owners can continue to supply the volumes they have agreed to in the contracts, we should fine. But I am not confident they will be able to sustain the volume of supply contracted after the end of December,” he cautioned.

“We will have to check again then. If the private water sources start running short, then we will have a serious problem,” Mr Graisorn said.

Meanwhile, at the southern end of the island, the Khlong Katha reservoir in Chalong as of this week contained about 2.040mn m3 of its 4.32mn m3 capacity – enough to last about 30 days, Phuket PWA Deputy Manager Mr Thamrak confirmed.

No private water sources have been found to supplement that end of the island, though much of the distribution in the southern end of the island is connected to the island’s main water supply network.

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Kurt | 12 November 2019 - 09:44:00

Save water, save water, save water! What a hypocrite and shallow government appeal while this phuket government at same time welcome tens of thousands tourists on Phuket Island the coming months.

Kurt | 11 November 2019 - 04:01:51

I red in this article  about 10 times (!)-->'private water sources' ! Is that a kind of public massage of Officialdom? According human rights declarations water is a peoples commodity. To call it 'private' and handle it accordingly is against international treaties, specially during water disaster times. Pattaya and Phuket are facing.

Kurt | 11 November 2019 - 03:49:06

Until now it was never explained why that blue water pump+ pipeline in one of the reservoirs was leading to. Is it possible that Officials sold water ( + commission) to private ' water companies', and these companies next sold it as their water to hotels, private house holds? Does water criminality exists on Phuket island?

Kurt | 10 November 2019 - 12:28:35

Water belongs to the people, not to someone on who's land it is falling. Declare a State of Water Emergency, and confiscate available water. ( national interest)

Kurt | 10 November 2019 - 12:25:49

Due to long time passivity of Local Gov. Phuket runs fast towards a water disaster. 
It is time the National Government steps in, and declares Phuket a national disaster zone, Including confiscating so called 'private' water. Owning land with water from on it , falling from 'above' doesn't mean you own the water. Water must now declared a national precious commodity. Water bel...

Timothy | 10 November 2019 - 09:33:09

That 585 million baht would have been enough to purchase RO desalination plants that could supplement water supplies until the proposed pipeline from Phang Nga is built. The private water sources will not last, especially with all the new developments soon to open. It wouldn't surprise me if some of this "private" expensive water was diverted from the reservoirs.

Fascinated | 09 November 2019 - 12:40:18

'Strange' how the private water sources never sem to dry out, All the lakes in kamala., Cherng Talay and behind the battleground park are full 

Kurt | 09 November 2019 - 12:35:18

Lets start with the Governor, and than going down the 'Officials tree',... Question: how can you remain silent and not inform the tourists NOT to go for holiday to Phuket, because there is here not even water the coming months for the Phuket inhabitants who live here! Any reactions? Or remain silent like a mouse?

Kurt | 09 November 2019 - 10:17:35

What a kind of incompetent 
Officialdom Phuket has by not being able to secure/provide the elementary basic thing of life,..WATER! Nothing, nothing is done the last 12 months to tackle this disaster. Just desk report bla-bla. Now Officials go on private water-tits, and cry about costs! Shame on them. Complete incompetent.

Kurt | 09 November 2019 - 10:09:11

All this ridiculous Officials talks, as the water disaster is just starting now. Already a year they give us just alarming updates, but do nothing to solve the water disaster. Thinking about water rations?? What about pulling the other end of the rope and ration the number of visiting tourists? After all Phuket tourist image will be gone anyway with water rations. 

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