Drought in Koh Pha-ngan, Thailand

A girl sits on a reservoir on the Mekong River during a drought affecting the Thai-Lao border area of Wiang Kaen district, Chiang Rai province, north of Bangkok March 11, 2010.

The severe drought on Koh Pha-ngan in Surat Thani has resulted in tap water being provided only twice a day but the move won't affect tourism, the island's waterworks authority branch manager Wutthiporn Boondee said yesterday.

Since February 18, tap water has been provided from 5am to 10am and 5pm to 10pm.

This is because Ban Khai canal has dried up, leaving Meun Chai canal as the island's only tap water source.

As the canal's ditch contains 20,000 cubic metres of water, Wutthiporn said there was enough water for two to three months.

He said tourism was not affected because tourism business operators had prepared for the drought season, which had hit the island severely three years in a row, while most visitors understood the issue and co-operated in water-saving measures.

In a short-term measure to tackle the drought, Witthiporn's office hired a private contractor to dig up three underground water wells and searched for another contractor to do reverse osmosis at the Ban Tai pump station.

At a recent Cabinet meeting on the island, approval was given to construct a reservoir to provide water for the tap system, which would serve as a long-term solution.

Surat Thani's 19 districts suffered severe drought this year - with Don Sak, Kanchanadit and Ban Na Doem hardest hit.