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Rain breaks Phuket’s worst drought in 30 years

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: The skies parted to deliver scattered showers across the island late this afternoon to break Phuket’s lowest recorded rainfall between the months of January and March for 30 years.

Governor Maitri Inthusut yesterday morning chaired an annual meeting at the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation-Phuket (DDPM-Phuket) office to plan water usage strategies for the dry season.

“After receiving the reports of record-low rainfall levels, I became concerned about having enough water to sustain Phuket residents throughout the dry season. We must prepare for possible water shortages,” said Governor Maitri.

“Although the Thai Meteorological forecast predicts rain in the southern part of Thailand from March 15-19, I am not sure whether it will hit Phuket or not.”

Phuket currently has 3.3 million cubic meters of water in the Bang Wad Dam and 6.61mn cubic meters of water in the Bang Niew Dum reservoir, said Gov Maitri, which is enough to last until May.

“In order to ensure that we will have enough water to last until the next rainy season, I ordered Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority [PWA] and the Phuket Irrigation Office [PIO] to reduce the volume of water they release each day,” explained Gov Maitri.

“PWA will reduce its output from 35,000 to 25,000 cubic meters per day and the PIO will reduce its output from 25,000 to 20,000 cubic meters.

“I also assigned the local municipalities and administration (OrBorTor) offices to monitor the villages in their areas they believe will face potential water shortages and to report their findings each week. That way, we will know to which villages we might need to send water trucks.”

San Jantharawong, Chief of DDPM-Phuket, advised Phuket residents to be aware of fire hazards during the dry season.

“The lack of rain had greatly increased the risk of fires this year. Please keep flammables in a safe place, away from dry grass and jungles,” he said.

Despite the scattered rainfall over Phuket late today, Director of Phuket Meteorological Office Santas Parnbaanpeaw debunked rumors that aircraft from the Royal Rainmaking Project (click here) were cloud seeding over the island.

“The rain clouds over Phuket are naturally formed; they have nothing to do with the Royal Rainmaking Project. Those officers are cloud seeding over Phang Nga, not Phuket,” he said.

However, Mr Santas said Phuket residents could look forward to some respite from the drought.

“The forecast is for scattered showers over 10 to 20 per cent of Southern Thailand today through Monday, which means there may even be more rain tonight,” he said.

— Saran Mitrarat

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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