11 July 2024

Samui resort island is currently facing an acute water shortage, as reservoirs are quickly drying up during a prolonged drought. On neighbouring Phuket, meanwhile, officials are bracing for a possible new round of heavy rainfall and flooding.

On Samui Island, the reservoir near the main town, which has a capacity of 800,000 cubic metres of water, is only 10% percent full, which is expected to last for only two weeks.

Krajood reservoir is only 25% full, enough for about 30 days. Although Chaweng reservoir still contains about two million cubic metres of water, the water is brackish and cannot be used.

The provincial waterworks on Samui has adopted a zoning system for the distribution of tap water, but residents in several communities have complained that they have been without water for almost a week.

A food vendor at Lamai beach told Thai PBS reporters that she has been spending 300 baht buying water from private water distributors on alternate days, or about 4,500 baht per month, because there has been limited or no tap water at her house for the past three days.

Amnart Chotechuang, a member of Surat Thani Provincial Administrative Organisation (PAO), said that the PAO has proposed that the prime minister’s advance working group set a budget, estimated at about 2.5 billion baht, to build a second pipeline to supply water from the mainland to the island.

The first pipeline can supply an average of 19,000 cubic metres of water per day, but it is insufficient to meet with the demand for agricultural and tourism purposes.

Meanwhile, on Phuket, officials are busily installing water pumps in canals and flood-prone areas, in anticipation of heavy rain forecast from today until next Monday.

Numerous residents have complained that the efforts to clean up sediment and tree branches, which have been blocking rural roads and waterways since last week’s massive flooding, have been proceeding very slowly.

They say that, if the debris is not removed quickly, they will face more flooding this week.

About 330mm of rain fell on Phuket over a short period last week, resulting in widespread flooding.

Weerapong Kerdsin, dean of the Faculty of Technology and Environment at Prince of Songkhla University’s Phuket campus, said that, besides the unusual amount of rainfall, unregulated city expansion should also be blamed for preventing the drainage of water into the sea.

He also attributed the loss of forest cover, which used to absorb rain water, for exacerbating flooding on the island.

File photo : Flood in Phuket last week