PHUKET TOWN: A meteorologist from the Southwestern Regional Meteorological Center has forecast that Phuket will continue to receive less rainfall than normal this rainy season and is urging Phuket residents to strictly conserve water and augment domestic supplies by collecting rainwater. Tawat Tantham-Nu, director of the Southwestern Regional Meteorological Center, told the Gazette, “Much of Bang Wad Reservoir is now as dry as a football pitch.” He warned that the total water supply for the island from surface water sources was currently about 500,000 cubic meters – enough to last only about 25 days. “A tropical depression centered over the Philippines brought rain to Phuket for the past two days. This may continue for two or three more days, but the amount of water it can supply is still far from enough,” he explained. In an average May, typically the first month of Phuket’s rainy season, the water level in the Bang Wad reservoir rises by about 260-280 millimeters. In May 2003, however, only 92 mm was stored. Last night’s heavy rainfall added only about 15 millimeters, K. Tawat said. He added that Phuket’s water supply woes are not simply a function of the amount of rain that falls. He said that the island’s natural storage capacity has been reduced by real estate development, which results in areas such as wetlands being paved over. Water that would once have percolated into the water table to be available in the dry season now flows uselessly into the sea. He said that rehabilitation of the island’s natural water resources was the only practical, long-term solution to the ongoing crisis.
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