Water Scarcity Crisis Grips Koh Samui Amidst Post-Pandemic Tourism Boom

news 05-Jul-2023 Asia

Water scarcity hits Koh Samui

The popular vacation island of Koh Samui in Thailand is facing significant water problems, with the current drought and increased water demand due to the post-pandemic tourism boom. Water rationing measures have already been implemented in several regions.

Koh Samui, a beloved holiday destination in Thailand, is grappling with severe water issues. According to media reports, this is primarily due to the ongoing drought and the rising water demand caused by the surge in visitors and tourism activities after the COVID-19 crisis.

Authorities had announced rationing measures starting from July 1st, following an announcement made in June. A table released by the local government outlines that water supply to different regions of the island will be alternated and provided on a daily basis.

"Serious water crisis"

Numerous reservoirs and waterfalls are reported to be at extremely low levels, as stated by the news outlet "The Thaiger," which referred to it as a "serious water crisis." The water shortage has already impacted the thriving tourism industry in the region. Ratchaporn Poonsawat, the chairman of the Koh Samui Tourism Association, expressed concerns that hotel operators and other tourism industry workers may soon be compelled to purchase freshwater from private suppliers.

This would lead to an increase in operational costs, ultimately affecting the vacation expenses of guests. Ratchaporn also expressed worries about the potential repercussions of the drought on the island's tourism sector. Despite the ongoing water crisis, the tourist island has hosted at least one million international visitors over the past five months.

Enormous implications for residents

The water scarcity is also affecting the daily lives of the local residents. According to reports from the Bangkok Post, residents stated that they have to pay between 250 and 300 baht (approximately six to seven euros) to acquire around 2,000 liters of water for their daily needs due to the irregular water supply. In chat groups, residents lamented that their taps have remained dry for several days. According to authorities, the remaining water reserves will last only until the end of July at best.

Temporary measures

Prateep Kusolwattana, the Director-General of the Provincial Waterworks Authority, announced that the water supply stations at the Phru Na Muang reservoir and Hin Lard waterfall are producing 15,000 cubic meters of freshwater daily to meet the island's consumption needs.

To address the water crisis, the authority plans to deliver an additional 24,000 cubic meters of water from the Surat Thani province on the mainland to Koh Samui through an underwater pipeline.

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