SAMUI - The tourist paradise island of Samui is suffering under a serious shortage of running water as drought dries up the last of the natural resources used to produce the tap supply.
Samui largely relies on water from two reservoirs at Pru Krajude which can hold up to 800,000 combined cubic metres to feed the water treatment plant run by the Provincial Waterworks Authority (PEA) on the island.
But the reservoirs are drying up, with no rainfall for a long time, forcing the PEA to run a smaller seawater desalination plant at full steam, but that is still not enough to meet the daily demand of 30,000 cu m from houses and resorts on the island.
Water rationing has already been introduced and is making life hard for people and businesses on many parts of the island.
PEA governor Seree Supratid said the little fresh water remaining in the reservoirs will be unusable a week from now.
"If there is no rain over the next 10 days, we have to bring in water from other sources," he said during an inspection on the island on Sunday. (continues below)
One of the two reservoirs at Pru Krajude on Koh Samui is quickly drying up. (Photo by Supapong Chaolan)
Officials of the Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation Department have also visited the island to check weather conditions for making artificial rain for Koh Samui, while trucks are carting water to villages and houses in need.
Koh Samui district chief Paiboon Omak told INN on Monday that he hoped for successful artificial rainmaking before the rainy season returns to the province, hopefully later this month, to relieve the situation.
But with no sign yet of either the artificial or natural rain, the island has launched a campaign encouraging residents to use water wisely.
The Meteorological Department predicts a 60% likelihood of rain on the island on Monday and Tuesday, then decreasing to 40% for the rest of the week.
Surat Thani governor Uaychai Intaranak called for cooperation from all islanders to save water - farmers, hotels and households.
Sawat Limsuwan, a resident of tambon Maret, could not wait for help from officials and set up a new spirit house himself in the hope his prayers will result in rain.
"Authorities should look at the suffering of people here. At least they should dig more wells while we are wating for rain to come," he complained.
To solve the water problems of the island, the PEA is building an undersea pipeline capable of bringing 30,000 cu m a day of raw water from the mainland to the treatment plants. It should be finished in February next year, the PEA governor said.