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Drought could lead to closures

drought could lead to closures

For more than two months now, residents of Phi Phi Island have been grappling with a severe shortage of fresh water, prompting discussions about potential temporary closures of some businesses if the dry spell persists.

Krabi’s resort island is facing yet another freshwater shortage, a recurring issue during the tourist high season over the past several years. Sanphet Sisawat, president of the Krabi Tourism Association, informed the Bangkok Post that the private company responsible for supplying tap water to households, businesses, restaurants, hotels, and resorts on the island ceased freshwater distribution since April 23 due to dwindling reserves in its five-rai area.

Some business operators have resorted to purchasing raw water from downtown areas in Krabi. Large hotels, resorts, and businesses on the islands are reportedly nearly depleted of water from their own artesian wells. Some are contemplating temporary closures if the situation doesn’t improve, especially with minimal rainfall.

The crisis has inflicted significant damage on island tourism operators, resulting in hotel cancellations and tour program disruptions. To aid affected operators, the Krabi provincial authority has requested the Third Navy Region to supply 100,000 liters of fresh water per trip from its Phuket base. Additionally, the authority is considering employing private logistics ships to deliver 200,000 liters of water per trip to the locals.

On Krabi’s mainland, many areas are experiencing a similar drought situation. Despite efforts to utilize raw water in reservoirs and a plea for artificial rain, reservoir water levels remain critically low. The Krabi Provincial Waterworks Authority has devised a three-part mitigation plan, starting with the short-term rental of three mobile water production plants.

The water shortage isn’t confined to Krabi alone. In Pattaya, Chon Buri, and Koh Chang, Trat, tourist attractions are also feeling the impact. In Pattaya, Singhachai Inthapichai, director of the Provincial Waterworks Authority Division 1, highlighted struggles in maintaining water supply amidst soaring demand due to constant heat and increasing tourist numbers.

This has resulted in tap water shortages not only in Pattaya but also in the mountainous areas of the Si Racha district. While reservoir reserves are expected to last until the end of June, the division has been organizing water deliveries to residents’ doorsteps to mitigate the situation.

The division intends to sign a contract with the Royal Irrigation Division to pump water into other areas for local consumption. Meanwhile, in Koh Chang, the closure of Khlong Phlu waterfall in Moo Koh Chang National Park since May 3 underscores the severity of the water shortage, with other falls in the park being closed for at least a month due to the same rare incident, as reported by Niramitr Songsaeng, head of the national park.

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