Limited Supplies and Increased Demand
Koh Samui, a famous resort island in Surat Thani, is experiencing a significant shortage of freshwater. The lack of rainfall, combined with increased water demand, has caused water levels to drop in several essential sources on the island. These sources include Phru Na Muang and Phru Krajud reservoirs, as well as Hin Lard waterfall. As a result, the island only has enough freshwater to supply its residents for just 30 days.
Impact on Tourism Industry
The freshwater shortage has not only affected residents but also the tourism businesses on the island. Ratchaporn Poonsawat, the chair of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui, has mentioned that the shortage could raise costs for tourism businesses since owners would need to purchase freshwater. Furthermore, the additional water expenses could impact hospitality workers, as a lack of water supplies would lead to higher living costs for these laborers.
The drought threatens to influence tourism in the upcoming months, as the island’s high season starts in the second half of the year. Koh Samui has already welcomed at least 1 million foreign tourists in the past five months.
Locals Struggle with Insufficient Water Levels
The daily lives of locals have also been affected by the inadequate water levels. When water does not flow from the tap, residents must pay 250 to 300 baht for approximately 2,000 liters of water for daily use.
Addressing the Shortage: Provincial Waterworks Authority’s Plan
To tackle the water shortage, Prateep Kusolwattana, director-general of Provincial Waterworks Authority 4, has outlined several steps. First, the water supply stations at the Phru Na Muang reservoir and Hin Lard waterfall will produce 15,000 cubic meters of freshwater per day for the island.
Moreover, the authority aims to supply 24,000 cubic meters of water from Surat Thani on the mainland to Koh Samui through an underwater pipeline. The operation commenced on a recent Saturday and will continue every other day until the water situation returns to normal.
The freshwater shortage on Koh Samui is a pressing issue that needs to be addressed promptly. With the island’s high season approaching, the authorities, tourism businesses, and residents must work together to find viable solutions and ensure that the island can continue to thrive in the face of these challenges.