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Thailand’s picturesque island, Koh Samui, famous for its magnificent beaches and luxurious resorts, faces a dire situation: it is swiftly running out of fresh water. The startling reality is that the island reportedly has less than 30 days of freshwater supply left.
This alarming situation has arisen due to the cumulative impact of scarce rainfall and the surge in demand from throngs of tourists. Such a scenario paints a grim picture where residents at times turn on their taps only to find no water trickling out.
Over the past five months, at least one million foreign tourists have visited Koh Samui, leading to a spike in water consumption. This sharp increase in demand threatens to deplete local freshwater resources meant for residents, according to the Bangkok Post.
Ratchaporn Poonsawat, chair of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui, warns of escalating costs for tourism operators, as they’ll need to buy fresh water. Residents, too, will face the brunt of rising living expenses.
Complicating matters further is the dreaded El Nino weather phenomenon. Known to usher in dry conditions, it may exacerbate the water shortage on the island.
But amidst this looming crisis, there’s a ray of hope. Koh Samui’s deputy mayor, Sutham Samthong, assures residents that the administration is taking action to prevent the island from becoming a “disaster zone.” He urges citizens to use water sparingly while promising to bring in fresh water for public distribution. With careful management, he believes the island could weather the next two months until the much-awaited rains arrive.
Presently, locals pay 250 to 300 baht (about $7 to $9) for approximately 528 gallons of water for daily use when tap water is unavailable. In response, a water supply operation has been initiated, with water transported from the mainland city of Surat Thani to Koh Samui via an underwater pipeline.
This predicament serves as a stark reminder of the global freshwater crisis and the urgent need for sustainable water management in our rapidly changing world.
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