Water released from Bang Wad reservoir has been reduced to half its usual output, leaving many areas in Patong, Thepkrasattri, Pa Khlok, Koh Kaew and Wichit, including all of Cape Panwa, without mains water supply, Mr Graison confirmed this week.
“But some parts of Patong still have 100% mains water supply because the PWA is using water from a private source to supply them,” he added.
The only areas in Phuket listed by the PWA as “unaffected” are in the south of the island, served by the Khlong Kratha reservoir in Chalong, Mr Graisorn confirmed.
Elsewhere, the Koh Kaew Tambon Administrative Organisation (OrBorTor) has set up emergency water-distribution points for residents in areas there suffering from water outages and has begun delivering emergency water supplies. Parts of Koh Kaew remain unaffected by the outages, but other areas are “on watch” and some areas are without any mains water supply at all.
Meanwhile, Cherng Talay Municipality has already shut off mains water supply in its area from 10pm to 5am each day and water supply to a slew of private estate and condominium projects in Cherng Talay has been shut off entirely.
“Cherng Talay Municipality has to shut off water from 10pm to 5am in all areas of Cherng Talay Municipality because there is not enough water,” Cherng Talay Municipality’s Water Production Division Supervisor Tripoom Musikkarat confirmed to The Phuket News.
Mr Graisorn explained this week, “Srisoonthorn and Cherng Talay still use their own private water sources. They are not connected to mains supply.”
The Kamala OrBorTor last week also issued its own notice urging residents to save what water they can in the hope of making supplies last as long as possible.
Phuket Town has been on water restrictions since late last month. Mains water pressure throughout Phuket Town was reduced from 9am-5pm and from 10pm to 5am each day, but how much the water pressure had been reduced was not explained.
The people already suffering the most – just as during the water crisis last year – are those living in Rassada, Mr Graisorn said.
“More than 70,000 families live in Rassada, including those living on Koh Siray, in the Soi Kingkaew area and all the people living in the National Housing Authority projects. Water supply no longer reaches their homes, but we have set up a water supply centre at Baan Sapam School,” he added.
Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana inspected the efforts to deliver emergency water supply to the hard-hit area of Soi Kingkaew on Feb 19.
The Governor admitted that the area, one of the poorest and most densely populated residential areas on the island, had been receiving deliveries of water supplies by Rassada Municipality trucks since Jan 15, the same day that the PWA reduced the water output from Bang Wad reservoir.
Gov Phakaphong also said he ordered all 19 local municipalities and administrations across the island to provide emergency water supplies wherever needed on Feb 11, three weeks after the output from Bang Wad had been halved.
RUNNING ON EMPTY
While the strategy is to keep reducing water pressure to make what reserves the PWA has last as long as possible without actually shutting water supply off, Mr Graisorn warned that reserves may not last as long as needed.
As of Tuesday (Feb 25), Bang Wad reservoir in Kathu contained about 1.74 million cubic metres of water – about 17.1% of the reservoir’s full capacity, Mr Graisorn said.
In other words, the reservoir is currently more than 80% empty.
“At current usage rates this is enough to last 49 days,” he noted. Without reducing water supply any further, the forecast will see Bang Wad run dry by mid-April, when the earliest of the annual rains return.
Khlong Kratha reservoir was much healthier, holding 1.425mn m3, or about 33% of capacity, Mr Graisorn said. “This is enough to last 88 days,” he added.
Bang Neow Dum reservoir, however, currently contains 0.418mn m3, or 5.8% of its capacity. “This is not enough to even use,” he said.
The dwindling water reserves at Bang Neow Dum last year were already dedicated as for use in emergency only as the water level there was so low the water would not be clear enough to be pumped out.
“Many private water sources in Phuket are also running dry,” Mr Grisorn noted.
However, he added, “We just made an agreement with the owners of small private water resources in the northwest areas.
“A total of 600,000m3 of water will come from three water sources in Cherng Talay, about 200,000m3of water from each one.
“The water will be piped to the water station at Baan Bangjo [in Cherng Talay] from March 20,” he added.
The water from the private sources will help feed supply to the network serving parts of Cherng Talay, parts of Srisoonthorn, parts of Thepkrasattri, all of Rassada and all of Koh Kaew, Mr Graisorn explained.
Mr Graisorn also noted, “Srisoonthorn and Cherng Talay use their own private water sources. They are not connected to mains supply. We are providing some water by water trucks to some areas in Cherng Talay.
“Only some small parts of Thepkrasattri is connected the mains network, but most of the area is served by private water sources,” he added.
“All 600,000m3 of water is coming in March, and it will provide enough water to people currently suffering water outages, especially those in Rassada and Koh Kaew, until May,” Mr Graisorn said.
“But until the rain comes we need to reduce water-supply pressure in Phuket. We are just reducing the supply to try to make what water we have last as long as possible,” Mr Graisorn stressed.
People in need of emergency water supply can call the PWA hotline 1662 or the PWA main office number 076-319176, Mr Graisorn noted.
“Or they can call their local municipalities or OrBorTor,” he added.