PHUKET: A week of rainmaking to increase Phuket’s water supply has so far produced 80.3 millimeters of rain, Sanae Varit, Consultant to the Royal Bureau of Rainmaking and Agriculture Aviation in Bangkok, said at Phuket International Airport yesterday. The program to use chemical drops from airplanes to “seed” clouds and induce rain started on September 9 after Governor CEO Pongpayome Vasputi made a request to the Ministry of Agriculture. K. Sanae said between September 9 and 16, two aircraft had made a total of 28 flights. He explained that the challenge of rainmaking in Phuket was in trying to get rain to fall on Bangwad Dam, a reservoir covering about 4,000 rai located in a valley in Kathu. The aircraft were avoiding flying over beach areas so as not to disturb tourists. Thirty-four staff officers of the Bureau, including pilots, scientists and chemical specialists, have come to Phuket for the month-long project. For each flight, an aircraft carries about 800 kilograms of a chemical mix containing sodium chloride, urea and calcium chloride. At the airport yesterday, the project team gave a demonstration of a cloud seeding session. Within about 20 minutes of the chemical drop, it began to rain heavily.
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