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Royal rainmakers halt Phuket cloud-seeding operations

Royal rainmakers halt Phuket cloud-seeding operations

PHUKET: The royal rainmaking division for Southern Thailand has ceased its operations to seed clouds over Phuket to fill the island’s main reservoirs due to the annual northeast monsoon settling in and for its aircraft to undergo maintenance.

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By The Phuket News

Sunday 17 November 2019, 05:42PM


Taentai Ponhan, Acting Director of the Royal Rainmaking Operations Southern Center in Surat Thani, explained  yesterday (Nov 16), “The southern region is now influenced by the northeast monsoon, which has caused more rain in the South and isolated heavy rain in some places. In the beginning of November, some areas in the southern region began to be affected by heavy rain which caused flooding,” Mr Taentai said.

During the months of November through February is also when the Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation Department’s aircraft undergo their annual repairs, he added.

Some of the aircraft from the base in Surat Thani, which also conducts rainmaking operations elsewhere in Southern Thailand, have been operating continuously for eight months, Mr Taentai explained.

“We need to carry out the maintenance so that the aircraft are ready to combat water shortages in 2020,” he said.

Since operations in the Phuket area began on Sept 5 (see story here), more than 2 million cubic meters of rainfall has fallen across the island, he added,

However, not all that rainfall made its way to help replenish levels at the island’s three main reservoirs, explained Atchariya Chantnrawong, Chief of the Agriculture and Cooperatives Phuket branch.

“Efforts were successful for Bang Wad reservoir in Kathu and the Khlong Katha reservoir in Chalong, but there has been little effect on Bang Neow Dum reservoir [in Srisoonthorn, Thalang],” Mr Atchariya said.

Mr Atchariya repeated the government’s call for people to conserve as much water as possible (see story here) while “the relevant authority continues with its plan to resolve the issue”.

Mr Taentai assured that the Southern Royal Rainmaking Operation Center in Surat Thani will continue to monitor the weather and analyse trends for opportunities to create more rainfall for the island.

“We will immediately request plane support if there is an area requesting royal rainmaing support and the weather is conducive to making rain,” he said.

The Office of National Water Resources (ONWR) reported that Bang Neow Dum reservoir as of yesterday contained 0.69 million m3 of its 7.2mn m3 capacity. Of that, only 0.58mn m3 is usable, noted the ONWR.

The ONWR last month stopped reporting water levels at Bang Wad reservoir, and has never reported water levels at Khlong Kratha in Chalong.

Of note, at last report Bang Wad reservoir was little under one-third full. (See story here.)

The PPIO, responsible for maintaining water levels at the three main reservoirs has not publicly posted water levels at the reservoirs since June 24. (See PPIO website here.)

Meanwhile, water supply from Bang Wad reservoir, the island’s main water source, was reduced by 25% on Nov 1, and will be reduced to half its regular flow from Jan 1, the busiest week for tourism on the island for the whole year.

Also, any water currently left the Bang Neow Dum reservoir will be held back for use in case of emergencies.

The move comes as Graisorn Mahamad, Chief of the Phuket office of the Provincial Waterworks Authority (PWA), struggles to make reserves last.

Under a project costing B585mn, the PWA is using private water sources for immediate supply to ensure houses and businesses across the island still receive running water. (See story here.)

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BenPendejo | 18 November 2019 - 11:27:41

So..."Rainmaking operations ... have been operating continuously for eight months".  Congratulations for nothing. The rain was here, with numerous flood events, but probably 90 of rainfall was not captured and went out to sea. Rampant development, no planning, paving  groundwater recharge areas...total mismanagement and no solid solutions.

Kurt | 18 November 2019 - 10:42:47

PWA is using private water sources!   How is it possible that private persons can own privately water from rainfall?  Just because it falls on their land? Thai lawmakers should make laws that clearly manifest that water is a country commodity for all inhabitants, not something private. Hook out that private idea/handling ( including the room for the usual corruption, of course).

Kurt | 18 November 2019 - 10:31:02

Time to deepen some of the reservoirs. Than water pipelines to the nearest open water location with offshore a floating mooring buoy were water tankers can discharge water for Phuket. A temporarily option until in 4-6 years a permanent water  providing solution is working.

Kurt | 18 November 2019 - 10:16:09

This whole 'rain making' thing is a big farce. At least on Phuket.  Mostly thunder + rain happens same time on Phuket. Than these light aircraft remain grounded. To dangerous to fly around in 'thunder' anyway. Anyone seen them flying, and than rain started? This rain making club never reported action + rain follow ups at times. Foreign scientists not believe in this rain making.

Rorri_2 | 18 November 2019 - 06:03:29

Of course they take credit, for making it rain, but there's no eay to prove it.... me thinks it would have rained in any event. 8 months and little to show.

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