Water zoning is being introduced on the holiday island of Koh Samui, with rationing of tap water to households and businesses.
Pru Namuang reservoir, the major water source in Koh Samui district, is nearly dry, with only muddy pools of water left. The extreme water shortage has forced large hotels to buy water trucked in from outside to serve their guests. Surapong Somwang, manager of the Provincial Waterworks Authority’s Koh Samui branch, said the island was experiencing its worst water crisis in 10 years due to an extended drought, Thai media reported on Friday.
The authority was forced to cut back on tap water production and mix the supply with untreated water from other sources. He said the absence of rain had affected all three reservoirs used for tap water production in Koh Samui district. They had a combined holding capacity of 4.6 million cubic metres of water, but now had only 988,000 cubic metres of water in total. According to Thairath Online, Pru Namuang reservoir, which has a capacity of 1.3 million cubic metres, now has only 18,000 cubic metres.
Mr Surapong said a zoning system has been introduced to supply water to households and businesses on the island. There were four zones – Ban Plailaem community in tambon Bo Phu, Ban Bangrak, Ban Chawaeng in the same tambon, and communities in tambon Mared, tambon Namuang and tambon Taling Ngam. Each zone would receive water on alternate days. He urged all people to use water prudently.
He said a water pipeline is being laid from the Surat Thani mainland to Koh Samui to supply water in the long term, a distance of 110 kilometres. It is about 70% complete and expected to be finished by February next year. The pipeline would bring an end to the island’s frequent water shortages, the Samui waterworks manager said.
Wirat Khamson, owner of a food shop in tambon Mared on Koh Samui, said the decision to supply water only on alternate days had affected all local households and businesses, Thairath Online reported. He had purchased large containers to store water for use on days when tap water was not supplied. If there was not enough, he was forced to buy artesian water from local residents who had their own wells, Mr Wirat said.