PHUKET: Phuket Irrigation Office Project Director Watchara Arepornsiri today said that if rain does not start to replenish Phuket’s water reserves by the middle of this month, he will call in the Royal Rainmaking Project to seed clouds and make artificial rain.
K. Watchara explained to the Gazette that Bang Wad reservoir currently holds 1.9 million cubic meters of water, and that Phuket Provincial Water Supply (PPWS), Phuket City Municipality and the Phuket Irrigation Office together hold an additional 800,000 cubic meters in government-owned tin mines.
But, he added, “If the [government-owned] tin mines run out of water as well, we will not have any water to use.”
K. Watchara explained that Phuket uses on average 2 million cubic meters of water a month: 1.2 million cubic meters supplied by the PPWS and 800,000 cubic meters supplied by Phuket City Municipality.
“If we have no rain, we will have [only] 700,000 cubic meters of water left at the end of May. [But] now the rainy season is starting, so there is no need to worry too much about water shortages.
“However, if we have no rain by mid-May, we must have artificial rain to supplement the province’s water reserves,” he said.
Vichit Phuangsombat, the Director of the Southern Meteorological Center (West Coast), stationed at Phuket International Airport, told the Gazette that the shifting monsoon winds will soon see rain falling on Phuket, and that the island has had more rain so far this year than at the same time last year.
“During April in 2004, 56mm of rain fell at the airport, but in April this year 62.2mm of rain fell there. In Phuket City, 51.8mm fell in April last year, but 84.2mm fell during April this year. And this is without artificial rain,” he said.
“There will be rain this month but it will not be downpours lasting all day,” he added.
K. Vichit also noted the impact of Phuket’s rapid pace of development on rainfall patterns on the island. “It is now difficult to forecast where the rain will fall. Trees have been cut, and the natural face of Phuket has been changed. Rain will not fall in the areas where it used to in the past, but there will not be a drought,” he said.
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