Scramble to find more water

PHUKET: If you don’t already have an auxiliary water storage tank for your home now might be a good time to buy one: visiting Royal Irrigation Department Director General Samart Chockkanapitak confirmed yesterday that Phuket’s water supplies are running dangerously low. K. Samart urged all Phuket residents connected to municipal supplies to strictly conserve water. He estimated that under current usage conditions the existing supply will run out in about 50 days. Phuket Governor CEO Pongpayome Vasaputi has once again called for assistance from the cloud-seeding aircraft of the Royal Bureau of Rainmaking and Agriculture Aviation and the province is now coordinating an effort with municipalities and state agencies to pump additional water from tin mines within their jurisdictions. A number of large pumps have been borrowed from the Ratchaprapa Reservoir in Surat Thani for this purpose. These are expected to be in operation in a few days’ time. K. Samart pointed out that existing water supply is less than at the same time last year – despite a drastic decrease in the number of visiting tourists. Bang Wad Reservoir currently contains about 700,000 cubic meters, but only 200,000 cu m of this is suitable for use in the municipal supply. The rest is silt-ridden. On current consumption rates, 200,000 cu m is the amount used by the Phuket municipal supply over a 10-day period. During his January visit to Phuket, PM Thaksin Shinawatra promised funding for a second reservoir at Bang Niew Dum. But the government now says it lacks the promised 650 million baht for land purchase and dam construction. K. Samart stressed that the alternative strategy of pumping water from Surat Thani can be considered only as a long-range solution for Phuket. The current supply problems will end only with the arrival of heavy monsoon rains, he said, but the Southwestern Regional Meteorological Center has forecast that heavy rain will not arrive until some time in August.

Phuket News
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