Mr Sophon said yesterday (Oct 12) that the recent heavy rains have helped greatly to increase the water levels at the three reservoirs.
The Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority reports that Bang Wad reservoir in Kathu, the island’s main reservoir with a capacity of 10.3 million cubic metres (m3), is currently 73.8% full with 7.53mn m3 of water, he said.
Bang Neow Dum reservoir in Srisoonthorn, Thalang, currently contains 4.73mn m3 of water, or about 65.7% of its 7.2mn m3 capacity, he added.
Klong Kratha reservoir in Chalong contains 2.94mn m3, or 68.2% of its 4.32mn-plus m3 capacity, Mr Sophon said.
“At the moment, a lot of water continues to flow into the reservoirs, raising the water levels higher and higher. With the amount of rainwater this year, Phuket may not face a water shortage for the rest of the year,” he added.
According to the Thai Meteorological Department (TMD), some areas of Phuket have already had nearly the whole month’s average rainfall in just the past six days.
The weather station near Phuket International Airport recorded a total of 300.3mm of rainfall from last Wednesday through yesterday (Oct 6-12), while Phuket Town during the same six days experienced 218.8mm of rainfall.
According to the TMD long-term statistics for the years 1981-2010, the 30-year monthly average rainfall in Phuket during October is 353.4mm.
Mr Sophon noted that more rainfall was expected.
“The DDPM has already issued a warning for the effects of tropical storm Linfa. People living in risk areas, please beware of possible flash flooding and landslides. All small boats should keep ashore,” Sophon added.
The warning was issued yesterday after Linfa made landfall in Vietnam.
Meanwhile, the TMD has issued its weather warning for the fallout from tropical storm Nangka brewing in the South China Sea.
The heralding of good news over the water levels at the island’s three main reservoirs follows severe water shortages both last year and earlier this year, with many areas across the island that are dependent on mains water supply being left without any tap water for months.
In January, before international tourists were banned from entering the country as a COVID-19 prevention measure, Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority (PWA) Chief Graisorn Mahamad announced a slew of measures to conserve what little water supplies Phuket had in the hope of staving off serious water shortages across the island.
Mr Graisorn plainly warned that Phuket did not have enough water to supply people on the island for the year.
Even without the usual high number of tourists on the island due to the COVID-19 pandemic, by April this year the water level at the Bang Wad reservoir in Kathu sank so low that an old shrine that had not been seen since the drought of 2002-3 became visible again. At that time, on Apr 18, Mr Graisorn confirmed the reservoir contains just 80,000 cubic metres of water.
Even heavy rains during the beginning of the rainy season this year did little to help.
Soon after arriving on the island, Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew in July travelled to Bangkok to discuss with the Cabinet short-term and long-term strategies to improve the island’s water-supply ability.
That visit followed confirmation that no work had begun on the pipeline from Phang Nga despite the project being approved by Cabinet in September 2019.
Mr Graisorn has repeatedly highlighted that even when the reservoirs are full, the water they contain is not enough to maintain long-term water supply in the coming years – a point strongly supported by the island’s hotel industry
“We will need this water-supply pipeline from Phang Nga to supply water in the long term, and construction needs to start because it will take a long time to complete,” Mr Graisorn said in July.
“This project is the ‘Number One’ way to help Phuket out of its water supply problem. This project is crucial because the demand for water supply in Phuket will increase to 98mn m3 per year,” he said.