Gen Anupong ordered the live video conference to deliver his message for all provincial governors to take active steps to prevent water shortages in their areas.
Gen Anupong, who also serves as the head of the National Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office in Bangkok, explained that the Interior Ministry had prepared for water outage problems in advance for the coming months by ordering every provincial government to find new water sources and have spare water resources available.
The ministry also supported the drought-countermeasures by providing water trucks for distributing water to people and the necessary budget for the petrol needed to distribute emergency water supplies, he said.
“I want officers to focus on the water for in-house use as a priority, followed by water needed for crops. To everyone, please save as much water as you can. I believe in the cooperation of everyone that we will have water to use until the rainy season arrives in May,” Gen Anupong added.
At the meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall to receive the message were Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana along with Phuket Vice Governor Wongsakorn Nunchukan and a host of other high-ranking officials.
However, according to a report posted by the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department of Thailand, it was reported at the meeting that the Thai Meteorological Department (TMD) predicted that from January to May the amount of rain will be less than normal in every part of Thailand, causing the small amount of water in main reservoirs.
“There has no water shortage situation yet, but people have to monitor the water situation closely,” said the report.
Oddly, the report also included, “At this stage, Bang Wad reservoir has only 24.4% of full capacity, around 2.49 million cubic metres, which may last 74 days. Bang Neow Dum reservoir has only 5% of full capacity, around 0.41mn m3, and Khlong Kratha reservoir [in Chalong] has 41.1%, around 1.77mn m3 of water, which may last 111 days.”
It was not made clear why the TMD, as the national weather bureau, was providing information on the current state of Phuket’s three main reservoirs.
An aide at the Provincial Goveror’s Office late today would only confirm that the information in the report was explained at the meeting.
The aide would not confirm who provided the information, or whether the update was provided to Gen Anupong.
Of note, the report specifically did not mention that only two weeks ago Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority (PWA) Chief Graisorn Mahamad announced a slew of measures to conserve what little water supplies Phuket has in the hope of staving off serious water shortages across the island.
Mr Graisorn also delivered the dire message, “We don’t have enough water to produce in 2020 because the water levels at the three main reservoirs – Bang Wad, Bang Neow Dum and Khlong Kratha reservoirs – are so low.”
Also not mentioned was that Mr Graisorn had noted that the water level at Bang Neow Dum reservoir was “not enough to even use”, or that Phuket Town residents were already subjected to reduced mains water pressure from 9am-5pm and from 10pm to 5am each day in order to conserve water. (See story here.)
The report also failed to mention that Mr Graisorn confirmed earlier this month that the volume of water from Bang Wad reservoir distributed to Wichit to Patong had already been reduced, and that the volume of water released from Bang Wad was to be further reduced by one-third “soon”. (see story here.)
The report was proud to mention, “[The] Phuket Government has set up a committee team to follow the water situation and ordered local administrative officers to prepare and identify the areas where there will be a lack of water.”
“[The] Provincial Waterworks Authority (PWA) was also ordered to find water sources from private companies in order to provide to water to areas which will face water outages.
“The PWA is also working on projects, including installing new water supply mains, pumping water from one source to main water reservoirs, and setting up two new reservoirs [sic].”