The water, to be delivered by nine trucks each carrying 5,000 litres, Lt Col Santi Sakuntanark, Commander of the Royal Thai Army's 25th Military Circle, which is based in Phuket, told The Phuket News this morning.
“Lt Gen Pornsak has ordered for water from Surat Thani province and Nakhon Sri Thammarat province to be delivered to local residents in Phuket,” Col Santi said.
“We will deliver the water to villagers in Phuket until their hearts are full,” he added.
Col Santi explained, “Lt Gen Pornsak learned that local residents in Phuket were now in trouble because of the shortage of tap water, so he decided to solve the initial problem. He ordered the Army Region 4 command to have water trucks help local residents in Phuket.
“Lt Gen Pornsak has spoken with Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana before about the problem, but there has been no solution. Lt Gen Pornsak will again talk with Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana soon to find solutions to the water shortages,” he added.
News of Gen Pornsak ordering his soldiers to provide emergency water to Phuket broke when Bhuritt Maswongssa, General Manager of Patong Resort Hotel, posted a statement on his Facebook page last night.
Mr Bhuritt was welcoming Gen Pornsak to the 109th Thailand-Malaysia Regional Border Committee (RBC) meeting being held at Patong Resort Hotel.
Meanwhile, Prapan Kanprasang, chief of the Phuket Provincial office of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM-Phuket) told The Phuket News this morning that his office is preparing to assist the Army in providing the water to hard-hit areas.
“We are coordinating with Army Region 4 about where to deliver the water to residents. Right now, seven water trucks have already arrived at two points in Rassada which were requested by Rassada Municipality,” Mr Prapan said.
“Five of the water trucks have already been sent to the National Housing Authority estate in Rassada and two water trucks have been sent the Supicha Siraycity housing estate on Koh Siray.
“We are still waiting for other requests from local administrations so we know where the water should be provided,” he added.
The move to have emergency water delivered to residents in the National Housing Authority estate in Rassada follows the residents staging a protest in front of Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday.
The residents were all from the Ua Arthorn (“Mercy for others”) housing estate in Baan Kuku, which was built by the National Housing specifically for recognised low income earners.
The residents have been without mains water supply since Mar 21, and have spent what money the have on buying their own water supply.
The protesters yesterday heavily criticised the Governor over the lack of action to resolve the mains water shortages. (See story here.)
The protest came just hours after the Phuket Governor held a press conference yesterday morning to specifically explain that Phuket is not suffering a drought crisis. (See story here.)
Governor Phakaphong yesterday presented himself to the protesters to explain that he was in the middle of a meeting to address the water shortage problem at the time.