Project Raindrop drips to a close
PHUKET: They came, they seeded, and the rain fell. And now the great Phuket rainmaking project is drawing to a close. But has it worked? Phuket Governor CEO Pongpayome Vasaputi was pleased enough with the results to host a dinner last night at the Royal Paradise Hotel, Patong, for the team of 34 rainmakers, who return to Bangkok in a few days. It was the governor’s decision to call in the cloudseeders, from the Royal Bureau of Raimaking and Agriculture Aviation, with support from the Ministry of Agriculture to cover the 2.4-million-baht cost. Having begun on October 9, the latest seeding will continue until Sunday. While there is no indication yet of the effectiveness of the latest effort, a similar project in September appeared to boost water reserves. And as anyone in Phuket can tell you, it has definitely been raining lately. Scientist Anuphas Pawathananusorn, who led the Phuket project, told the Gazette that the Bangwad Dam currently holds 2.58 million cubic meters of water. Private tin mines would also have more substantial reserves, he said The governor is happy, but not yet completely satisfied. “I’d like rain every day and night before the team leaves Phuket,” he told the rainmakers. The long-term plan to solve Phuket’s chronic water shortage by tapping the overflow from tin mines will take two years to implement, so the seeders may return.
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