The recommendations were submitted to the provincial government earlier this week, Phuket Vice Governor Wongsakorn Nunchukan confirmed.
The recommendations have been forwarded to the ONWR, the national authority established by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha last year to oversee water-resource management in order to alleviate drought and flood problems across the country, he said.
The ONWR reports directly to PM Prayut.
The recommendations were presented at a press conference at the PSU Phuket campus on Monday (Feb 17).
“According to information from the Provincial Waterworks Authority (PWA), Phuket needs around 80 million cubic meters of water per year, while water officials can currently produce only 48mn m3 per year,” said Assoc Prof Pun Thongchumnum, Vice President of the PSU Phuket campus.
“We still need 32mn m3 more to meet demand required by local residents and tourists. Last year, around 6,000 households in Phuket struggled from water outages,” he said.
Assoc Prof Pun noted the economic impact of water shortages throughout the country.
“The Kasikorn Research Center has revealed that as a result of water-outage problems, Thailand had lost around B15.3 billion, or around 0.1% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” he said.
“One more factor that affects the level of water at Phuket water sources is amount of rainwater. From PWA reports, the volume of rainwater every month last year was lower than 10-year average in each month,” Assoc Prof Pun said.
Dr Pun presented the PSU’s recommendations to solve water-outage problems as short-, mid- and long-term solutions.
“In the short-term we recommend using water from high-potential groundwater sources, which are shown on a groundwater potential map created by the PSU.
“Those sources can be drilled for water to use in the dry season. If the sources cannot produce as much water as people need, there are another 111 water sources that PSU water-level observation equipment has identified that can be used as supporting sources,” Assoc Prof Pun said.
“In the mid-term, we recommend creating a water-information platform and observation system for quick water management. We also need to create a ‘water bank’ that centralises information on how much water is available in nearby sources in each area to make sure there is enough for people to use.
“In the long term, we recommend to apply new technology to produce water, such as water-recycling systems and converting seawater into usable water. These two ideas will increase the amount of water available and meet people’s need for water,” he said.
Although not recognised at the PSU press conference this week, the recommendations presented were exactly the same as presented in November. (See story here.)
The idea of using private water sources as emergency supply reserves was first floated in March last year. (See story here.)
The recommendations are already being used by Phuket PWA Chief Graisorn Mahamad, who announced in July last year that the PWA was to spend B277 million on buying water from local sources to try to avoid water shortages this dry season. (See story here.)
Mr Graisron has already seen a B3.5 billion proposal to have a water-supply pipeline from Phang Nga dedicated to serving Phuket approved by Cabinet. (See story here.)
The project is being rolled out in two major phases. The first phase is already underway. (See story here.)
Meanwhile, Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana on Wednesday (Feb 19) inspected the efforts to deliver emergency water supply to the hard-hit area of Soi Kingkaew in Rassada, where many people are struggling without any mains water supply.
The area, one of the poorest and most densely populated residential areas on the island, has been receiving deliveries of water supplies by Rassada Municipality trucks since Jan 15, Governor Phakaphong admitted.
Gov Phakaphong said on Wednesday that he had ordered all 19 local municipalities and administrations across the island to provide emergency water supplies wherever needed on Feb 11. (See story here.)