Phi Phi may run out of water
Drought is threatening to spread to many parts of the country, with water in the renowned tourist getaway of Phi Phi Island set to run out as early as this month."Here, rain has not fallen for more than a month," Weerapat Jantaro, chairman of the Phi Phi Island Tourism Operator Club, said.
The operators are getting ready to buy water from Phuket for Bt250-Bt300 per cubic metre to prevent disruption to their business.
Some 2,500-3,000 visitors arrive on Phi Phi every day, with many staying the night.
Phankham Kittitornkun, chairman of the Ao Nang Tambon Administration Organisation, said that though the privately owned reservoir on the island still had some water, it would likely dry up by the end of the month.
"So when April arrives, tourism operators on the island will have to order water from Phuket. Besides paying for the water, they will have to pay for transportation, which is even more costly," he said.
Bottled water on Phi Phi would be a few times more expensive that on the mainland.
The Irrigation Department has warned farmers around the Chao Phraya River basin not to plant a second crop this season.
Large dams across the country are down to 41.28 billion cubic metres of water - 6.24 billion cubic metres lower than last year - and just 17.76 billion cubic metres can be used.
More than 10 million rai of farmland in the Chao Phraya basin are being worked on this arid season despite the plan limiting planted areas to 9.6 million rai.
As of March 12, only 1.91 million cubic metres, or 21 per cent, remained of the water stored for irrigation in the Chao Phraya Basin even though the dry season is expected to drag on for at least another month.