Thailand | Paradise islands facing water shortage following an exceptional heatwave

(Bangkok) In Thailand, the tourist archipelago of Koh Phi-Phi, made famous by the film The beach with Leonardo di Caprio, and other paradise islands are currently suffering from a serious water shortage, a tourism official and residents of the region said Thursday.

Located off the coast of Phuket (southwest), Koh Phi Phi attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year for its white sand beaches and turquoise waters.

But in recent weeks, an exceptional wave of dry heat has hit all of South-East Asia, breaking records and drastically lowering reservoir levels.

“The private company that supplies water to the islands may have to stop the supply,” Wichupan Phukaoluan Srisanya, president of the Krabi Region Hoteliers Association, told AFP.

“But we want to assure tourists who plan to visit the islands that we can manage this situation,” she added.

Authorities are considering bringing water from the continent if the rainy season is delayed.

Residents, who asked not to be named, told AFP that water shortages had lasted for months and that some hotels were almost empty because of it.

On the TripAdvisor review site, one user wrote that the water no longer flowed in his hotel and other messages invited travelers to “check that their accommodation has fresh water” before their stay.

In the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui, another popular tourist island, experienced similar dry and hot weather, but visitors were not affected, according to the local tourism office.

A tanker truck travels back and forth to the mainland, “but that triples the cost of running hotels,” Ratchaparon Poolsawadee, president of the Koh Samui tourism association, told AFP.

For almost a week in April, authorities in Bangkok issued daily extreme heat warnings, with the “felt temperature” rising above 52°C.

Human-induced climate change will lead to more frequent, longer and more intense heatwaves, scientists regularly warn.

While the El Niño phenomenon is contributing to this year’s exceptionally warm weather, Asia is also warming faster than the global average, according to the UN World Meteorological Organization.

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