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Thanet Tantipiriyakit Spearheads Crusade Against Phuket’s Water Crisis to Safeguard Tourism Jewel

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Picture this: the sun-kissed shores of Phuket, a jewel in Thailand’s tourism crown, bustling with wide-eyed tourists seeking the quintessential tropical escape. However, beneath this idyllic surface lies a pressing challenge that threatens to tarnish the island’s lustrous appeal – a persistent water shortage that escalates costs for hoteliers and dampens the spirits of visitors and locals alike.

Enter Thanet Tantipiriyakit, the ever-vigilant president of the Phuket Tourist Association, who recently made a passionate plea to the powers that be for a long-term resolution to this annual quandary. With the island’s critical water reservoirs – Bang Wad, Klong Kata, and Bang Neow Dum – alarmingly 20% shy of their full brim, the situation is dire.

Despite Phuket’s tourism sector being a veritable gold mine, contributing increasing revenue year on year, Thanet pointed out a stark inconsistency: the government’s inertia in rectifying the water woes. The consequence? Hotel operators find themselves cornered into purchasing water, a cost they bear silently, lest they breach the ceiling of accepted pricing standards. “As the country’s premier vacation haven, we ought to be equipped with a superior water supply system,” Thanet remarked, a note of exasperation in his voice.

On the front lines, Sukrid Klinson, the manager of the Phuket branch of the Provincial Waterworks Authority (PWA), shared some figures that paint a rather parched picture. The Bang Wad Reservoir’s water stash stands at a mere 1.17 billion cubic metres – a scanty 16.8% of its full capacity. The Klong Kata reservoir is down to its last 95 days of supply, while Bang Neow Dum can hold out for just about 100 days.

Efforts are underway, with the province engaging with private water suppliers to secure an additional 1.4 million cubic metres of water, with negotiations already promising 960,000 cubic metres. Yet, in high-demand locales like Ao Yon and parts of Pa Tong, the struggle for water is real, pushing businesses to their limits.

Sophon Thongsai, head honcho at the Phuket Provincial Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office, dubbed the situation at Bang Wad Reservoir as “critically low.” The specter of drought looms large, compelling a drastic cutback on water discharge from the reservoir, with hopes pinned on private sources to bridge the gap. Nevertheless, there’s a silver lining as the Southern Meteorological Center (West Coast) predicts an early onset of rains – a bounty expected from the second week of May, promising more precipitation than previous years.

In a gesture of goodwill, the PWA stands ready to dispatch free water to drought-stricken zones and needy communities, a service accessible upon request through local administrative bodies, according to Sophon.

As Phuket stands at this critical juncture, the call for action rings louder than ever. It’s a collective yearning for sustenance that does not merely seek to quench the island’s thirst but to preserve its status as a bastion of tourism, where every visit leaves a taste as refreshing as the waters it so desperately seeks.


  1. SunnyDay May 1, 2024

    Thanet is absolutely right demanding action on water scarcity. Tourism is what keeps Phuket alive and thriving. If the government doesn’t act soon, we might see the jewel of Thailand lose its shine.

    • LocalGuy May 1, 2024

      It’s not just about tourism though. Local communities suffer the most. We can’t just prioritize tourists over residents.

      • SunnyDay May 1, 2024

        Agreed, LocalGuy. It is essential to strike a balance. Ensuring a sustainable water supply benefits everyone; both locals and tourists.

      • WaterWise May 1, 2024

        Exactly, but it’s the tourism that brings the cash. Without solving the water issue, both sectors will collapse. Thanet’s push is crucial.

  2. EcoWarrior May 1, 2024

    Sustainability has to be the focus here. It’s not just about immediate solutions but ensuring that Phuket can manage water resources long term without exploiting them.

    • TravelBug May 1, 2024

      But isn’t flying to Phuket itself non-eco-friendly? Tourists complaining about sustainability while contributing to the problem is kinda hypocritical, no?

      • GreenSteps May 1, 2024

        It’s about making better choices. If tourists and the industry can shift towards more sustainable practices, including water usage, it’s a step in the right direction.

  3. BizOwner May 1, 2024

    Buying additional water is bleeding us dry. We appreciate Thanet’s efforts but we need concrete actions and policies, not just words. The clock’s ticking for all of us here.

    • Skeptical May 1, 2024

      Hasn’t this been an issue for years? Why is it taking so long for any real action? Are we waiting for a crisis to strike before doing something substantial?

  4. Islander May 1, 2024

    The drought situation doesn’t surprise those of us living here. It’s the harsh reality we face every year. Grateful somebody’s finally drawing attention to it.

    • Raindance May 1, 2024

      But will attention alone solve our problems? We need infrastructure, not just temporary fixes. Where’s the long-term plan?

  5. PolicyMaker May 1, 2024

    This is a complex issue that involves multiple stakeholders. We are committed to finding and implementing a long-lasting solution that will benefit everyone.

    • Cynic101 May 1, 2024

      Words are cheap. We’ve heard promises before. Time for action is now.

      • PolicyMaker May 1, 2024

        Understandable skepticism, Cynic101. Rest assured, plans are underway. The challenge is significant, but by working together, we can tackle this.

    • Optimist May 2, 2024

      Finally, some positive engagement! Let’s give them a chance to make a real difference this time.

  6. Joe May 1, 2024

    Why isn’t rainwater harvesting being considered more seriously? It’s simple and effective. Plus, it’s sustainable.

    • TechGuy May 2, 2024

      It’s not a silver bullet, Joe. Phuket needs a multifaceted approach that includes desalination, reuse, and yes, rainwater harvesting.

  7. WaterSaver May 1, 2024

    Every drop counts. Public awareness about conservation could go a long way in helping the situation.

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