MORE THAN 250,000 households in provinces adjacent to Bangkok have lost access to tap-water as the severe drought has disrupted waterworks in urban areas.
Residents in Pathum Thani, Saraburi, Ayutthaya and Lop Buri have all been hit.Raphipat Canal, which usually supplies raw water for tap-water production in Pathum Thani’s Thanyaburi district, is one of the water sources that has run dry.The Provincial Waterworks Authority (PWA)’s Rangsit Office in Pathum Thani has announced that due to the water shortage, the PWA office in Thanyaburi can no longer produce tap-water.
The PWA has been trying to help residents in Thanyaburi by channelling some water from the PWA’s Rangsit office.
But with a limited supply of water to share, residents of both Thanayaburi and Rangsit have said that water barely comes out of their taps. And at some hours of the day, water does not come out at all.
Nong Sua, Thanyaburi and Lam Luk Ka districts in Pathum Thani province are now declared areas hit by water shortage.
“More than 50,000 households now have no running tap-water at their disposal,” Pathum Thani governor Pongsathorn Sajjacholaphan said yesterday.
In Lop Buri and nearby provinces, more than 200,000 households have had no piped water because sources of have all been exhausted.
“Lop Buri is now the hardest hit. About 100,000 people in this province are now struggling with disrupted tap-water services,” a local official said.
Disaster Prevention and Mitigation chief Chatchai Promlert said he has been in the process of asking the Royal Irrigation Department to help increase the volume of water from the Chao Phraya River to the Chai Nat – Pasak Canal.
“At this point, the water volume is only about five to six cubic metres of water per second. But we need water volume of at least 10 cubic metres to ensure the canal can continue to feed tap-water services,” he said.
Chatchai has also asked the governors of Nakhon Sawan and Chai Nat provinces to stop farmers pumping water from the canal into their paddy fields.
‘Farmers will cooperate’
“Farmers have agreed to co-operate. They have understood the plight of Lop Buri people who lack water for their daily life,” he said.
Local irrigation officials had also installed pumps along the canal to help speed the flow of water to a tap-water facility, he added.
Many tributaries of the Chao Phraya, including Bang Kham River and Chai Nat – Pasak Canal, which are the main water source for tap-water production for Lop Buri’s Ban Mi district, Saraburi’s Phra Buddhabhat district and Tha Rua district in Ayutthaya, have dried up.
In order to tackle the tap-water shortage, PWA Rangsit office has asked the people in affected areas to save water in containers and said it is working with the Irrigation Department to distribute more water to generate tap-water.
The Pathum Thani governor Pongsathon said he is coordinating with Subdistrict Administrative Organisations in Nong Sua, Thanyaburi and Lam Luk ka districts to distribute water to affected households by fire trucks.
These areas have faced the most severe drought in decades.
Previously, farmers have seen their crops destroyed by the water shortage. But the situation has got worse and now affects domestic water usage in the area.
The almost totally dry Klong Raphipat Canal has also caused a canal-side road to collapse because of the sharp drop in the water level underground.
The severe drought also lead to fear that the capital will also be hit by the lack of tap-water. Governor of the Metropolitan Waterworks Authority Thanasak Watanathana has warned previously that supplies for tap-water in Bangkok may run out within 30 days if there is no rain by August.