Hua Hin mayor addresses drought crisis amidst water shortage and sales to private sector

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Mr Nopporn Wutthikul, the Mayor of Hua Hin Municipality, has publicly addressed the growing concerns regarding the ongoing water crisis in Hua Hin.

In a recent video posted on Facebook, the mayor detailed both the challenges the city faces due to the drought and the measures in place to alleviate water scarcity.

Hua Hin is currently grappling with a severe water shortage that has significantly impacted its residents, businesses, and the tourism sector, which includes prominent areas like Khao Takiab and Hua Don.

Despite the shortage, the private sector, which encompasses local entrepreneurs, rental homes, restaurants, and hotels, have been able to purchase water from private water trucks to meet customer needs.

The mayor explained that the municipality has previously prepared for such crises. An MOU with the Provincial Waterworks Authority was established to secure an additional water supply for the area. However, many businesses have not yet transitioned to this regional waterworks system. “This crisis may push more businesses to consider switching to the regional waterworks supply,” Mayor Wutthikul noted, indicating a possible long-term change in water sourcing practices.

The city’s strategy to manage the crisis includes two key water sourcing initiatives:

  1. Water is being brought from Pranburi Dam, in collaboration with the Royal Irrigation Department, which involved laying a blue pipeline to the Hua Na reservoir.
  2. Water from Phetchaburi Dam is also being utilized. A pumping station has been established to facilitate water transfer to Hua Hin. This operation depends heavily on the water availability in Cha-am, a neighboring district, which controls the water flow to Hua Hin based on its own supply levels.

Reflecting on past governmental support, Mayor Nopporn said that during General Prayuth Chan-ocha’s tenure as Prime Minister a budget was allocated for establishing a pumping station at Canal Line 1, with pipelines extending to the Kaeng Krachan Dam water pool.

This infrastructure improvement has been critical in stabilizing the water supply to a degree, supporting three water production plants in Khao Raeng and Dumnern Kasem areas, with minimal impact on the local population. However, the Hua Na area still experiences significant water flow issues, particularly during peak usage times.

The mayor also highlighted the challenges during high season and around the Songkran festival when water demand spikes due to the influx of tourists and the hot weather.

The mayor explained that because Hua Hin does not have its own river, it receives water through a pipeline system which stretches 15 km from Phetchaburi Dam and 25 km from Pranburi Dam, and which struggles to maintain adequate water flow during periods of heavy usage.

The mayor said that he expects the situation will improve if it starts raining.

Looking ahead, the municipality has plans to install a booster pump at the Hua Na reservoir on May 3, which should improve water flow significantly. This is part of a short-term effort to address the current crisis.

Additionally, the mayor spoke with Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin during his recent visit to Hua Hin, where a commitment was made to continue developing the water supply infrastructure in Hua Hin, namely securing funding for a remaining 7km pipe that would help Hua Hin connect fully to the Kaeng Krachan Dam reservoir.

Addressing the issue of water being sold to the private sector while residents suffer shortages, Mayor Nopporn stated that the city has divided water distribution into two main sectors.

The private sector is served at the Hua Na water production plant, which has two delivery points. The other sector, managed by Hua Hin Municipality, uses fire trucks and volunteers to distribute water to residents, ensuring that urgent needs are met.

“We must manage and take care of everyone in the area to get through this crisis together,” the mayor said, apologizing for any inconvenience caused and expressing his commitment to resolving the issue swiftly.

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