Koh Samui Thailand Tourism Drought Water

Water Crisis and Drought for Koh Samui Thailand due to Tourism Boost

Koh Samui in Thailand is grappling with a worsening water crisis, leaving taps dry for months. The surge in tourism, particularly after the pandemic subsided, has accelerated the water shortage on the island.

The island receives a staggering 2.7 million visitors annually, further exacerbating the problem. The lack of rainfall coupled with the resurgence in tourism has strained the water supplies. Sutham Samthong, the deputy mayor of Koh Samui, urgently appealed to the public to conserve water resources. According to local media reports, authorities are actively sourcing water from other areas and private reservoirs to ensure distribution to the public. Samthong believed that with careful management, the island could endure the next two months until the anticipated rainfall arrives.

“We are taking action to resolve this situation. Samthong stated, “We are actively preventing the provincial or higher authorities from declaring Koh Samui a disaster zone.”

Koh Samui captivates visitors with its pristine sandy beaches, showcases picturesque temples, and offers luxurious resorts. The island frequently encounters water shortages during the dry season from March to May. The situation is feared to worsen this year due to the El Niño weather phenomenon. El Niño is associated with reduced rainfall.

Water Woes Eat Local Business Profits

Ratchaporn Poolsawadee, president of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui, expressed frustration. He lamented that businesses on the island are unable to fully benefit from the surge in tourist arrivals this year as they must allocate their profits towards purchasing water instead. This not only incurs substantial costs but also exacerbates the scarcity of supplies.

The island’s accommodation capacity, including hotels and villas, plummeted to 5,000 during the pandemic but has since rebounded to 25,000, reaching the same level as 2019, according to Ratchaporn.

Consequently, issues such as water and waste management are resurfacing.

Sutham emphasized that Koh Samui requires 30,000 cubic meters of water daily. An underwater pipeline will transport a significant quantity of 24,000 cubic meters from Surat Thani on the mainland, guaranteeing a consistent water supply. Additionally, authorities will gather the remaining amount required from multiple reservoirs to fulfill the demand.

The Provincial Waterworks Authority has confirmed that on Monday they will deliver an additional 30,000 cubic meters of water to reinforce the reservoir supplies.

“I urge everyone to conserve water and use it sparingly. With our collective efforts, we can overcome this challenge,” appealed Sutham.

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