DESPITE being a renowned tourist destination Koh Samui continues to suffer from water shortage with tap water either not flowing or doing so weakly and this affecting the daily life of local people as well as hotel and tourism operators, Naewna newspaper said today (June 30).
Both ordinary people and entrepreneurs have installed tanks to store water which they buy from private water trucks to meet their daily needs at a cost of 250-300 baht per 2,000 litres.
This increases their expenses with some hotels and tour businesses having to spend hundreds of thousands of baht every month to buy water for their guests.
They are afraid if it does not rain soon then the groundwater will dry up and this will further exacerbate their dire struggle.
Reporters on the island said the months-long lack of rain and increased demand had led to the water at Phru Na Mueang and Phru Krachut reservoirs plus Hin Lad waterfall reaching its lowest point. This is now sufficient for a 30-day supply.
After that new water distribution arrangement would have to be made with production reduced even though there is an undersea pipeline bringing in supply from the mainland but this is not enough to meet the demand. Both local and tourism operators will be greatly affected.
Mr. Ratchaporn Poolsawat, head of the Koh Samui Tourism Promotion Association, said entrepreneurs now shoulder a heavier burden as private water delivery cost has risen. Amid the dwindling resources is the fear of an El Niño-induced drought.
In addition Koh Samui now wants workers to return as the tourism industry has gained momentum but if the cost of living here is high it might deter them from doing so.
However Mr. Prateep Kusonwatana, head of Provincial Waterworks Authority Region 4, said a project is underway to improve tap water distribution with water trucks also making deliveries in case of emergency.
At present the daily supply from Phru Na Mueang and Hin Lad waterfall stations is approximately 15,000 cubic metres while the undersea pipeline delivers 24,000 cubic metres.
Even so, from tomorrow July 1 water will be distributed on alternate days until the situation returns to normal, he added.
A Koh Samui reservoir. Photos: Naewna