Pattaya officials scramble for new water source after 2 reservoir expansions canceled

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Pattaya officials are looking for new sources of water after the Royal Irrigation Department canceled two area reservoir-expansion projects.

Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome confirmed Sept. 27 that the government dropped the Huay Khainow Reservoir expansion days after it axed the 10 million cu. meter expansion of Mapwaisom Reservoir in Khao Maikaew. In both cases, residents objected to the digging, which would have displaced local homes and businesses for the benefit of Pattaya hotels.

Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome says that it’s important to “maintain Mabprachan reservoir’s condition … to increase hard water storage” for Pattaya’s ever increasing needs. Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome says that it’s important to “maintain Mabprachan reservoir’s condition … to increase hard water storage” for Pattaya’s ever increasing needs.

“This project was vital to the water supply system, as the hard water was destined for Pattaya’s water-production plant,” Itthiphol said. “Since local residents protested against the project, the government will follow their wishes, but cannot sit idle because water scarcity is not consistent with development and growth.”

At a Sept. 13 public hearing, Khao Maikaew residents complained that project was not only unnecessary, but that the government had low-balled compensation payments to be given to residents who would have to move to accommodate the 1,200 rai of digging. They said the expansion wouldn’t be necessary if the government moves forward with the 30 million baht project to deepen the much-larger Mabprachan Reservoir.

Pattaya officials argued that the two smaller projects were necessary with the additional Mapwaisom storage equal to both of the lakes’ current total capacity.

About 150 residents also complained that the government has only offered 50,000-260,000 baht per rai to displaced residents while they believed their land and improvements were worth 1 million baht per rai.

In the face of the Mapwaisom opposition, officials also re-evaluated the Huay Khainow and dropped it for similar reasons. Now Pattaya officials must find a new, additional source of hard water or storage.

“The important factor now is to maintain Mabprachan’s condition, including development, to increase hard water storage,” the mayor said. “Pattaya has coordinated with the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives to discuss guidelines on water storage and sources for reserve water which may include requesting budgets to connect sources from Nongkho or Nongklangdon reservoirs in Takientia, and Nambung Reservoir in Sriracha.”