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Phi Phi Islands facing critical water shortages

PHOTO: Flickr/Sue Bishop

The hugely popular Phi Phi Islands in Krabi are facing severe water shortages, with local officials scrambling to find a solution. Particularly Koh Phi Phi Don where all the hotels and shops are.

Officials are considering either a pipeline that would bring water from the mainland or a way of producing fresh water from sea water. The president of the tambon administration organisation of Ao Nang says “the problem is nothing new”.

But this year’s situation is much more critical with no rain on the weather radar, at least for this week.

Phankham Kittitorakul says that for the past few years, there have been water shortages during the dry season, which also happens to be during the tourist high season (from December to April in southern Thai island locations). He says his office has received a budget to deal with the issue and is reviewing the two options mentioned above.

Meanwhile, a private company that until now has been providing the tap water used by private homes and businesses on Phi Phi says it’s running out of water. The Water Hill Company says that after tomorrow, it can only supply “two hours of water a day”, until the rains come and replenish its reserve, or the reserve runs out.

The Thai Meteorological Department warned last month that the hot season may extend well into May this year.

The Ao Nang tambon administration organisation currently sells raw water to private companies who produce tap water, but the TAO’s artesian well and water reserve is also empty. According to the Bangkok Post report, the price of water has reached a high of 200 baht per cubic metre.

While most large hotels and resorts on Phi Phi have their own artesian wells and are not affected, households and smaller businesses are expected to be hit hard.

The situation is no better on the mainland, with the vice president of the Pattana Krabi development group saying water shortages in Krabi are worsening. Ittichai Tanbutr adds that since Thursday, water pressure has been reduced, with the Provincial Waterworks Authority only providing water for limited time periods in many areas.

With the Phi Phi Islands, and the wider Krabi region as a whole, being one of Thailand’s most popular tourism destinations, Ittichai is calling on the government to implement a systemic and sustainable solution.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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