PHUKET: The current water shortage on Phuket could become a crisis by the end of this month unless substantial rain falls in the meantime. Water is no longer being supplied from Bang Wad Dam, the island’s main reservoir, for fear that the dam wall may crack if the level falls too far. Water from nine former tin mines is now being used instead. Unless this wet season replenishes supplies, authorities may also be forced to ration supply by regulating the water pressure, as they did last year. Sawong Sri-in, chief of the Muang District Waterworks Department, said, “If we don’t get more rain, we will face a drought by the end of this month.” To conserve water, he said, “we might have maximum pressure in the pipes from 4 am to 9 am and from 5 pm to midnight, then halve pressure during the rest of the day.” Bang Wad Dam currently contains 2.11 million tonnes of water, less than half the maximum of 5.75 million tonnes, though still well above the safe minimum of 1 million tonnes. Because of the lack of rain, however, the water authorities are being cautious. The island uses about 43,000 tonnes of water a day, or nearly 16 million tonnes a year.
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