Forty percent of the mains water for Phuket City comes from small dams and those small dams now have just one tenth of their normal supply, Deputy Mayor Thaworn Jirapattanasopon said.
''The issue has already been reported by the mayor to Phuket Governor Nisit Jansomwong,'' said Khun Thaworn, who is responsible for the city's infrastructure. ''If rain doesn't come within the next 10 days, the island will be in crisis.''
Monsoon-strength winds are forecast for tomorrow but that doesn't necessarily mean rains will follow, meteorological forecasters said today. The rains are overdue and should have arrived around last month's Songkran New Year festival or soon after.
Admissions about the real state of Phuket's water supply have only come in the past 24 hours as officials who have previously said ''What problem?'' have been forced to acknowledge that there is inadequate provision for tap water on Phuket.
Not since 2004 has the island been exposed as being careless with making adequate provision in case Nature fails to deliver. Massive amounts of rain fall on Phuket between May and October but only a small proportion is captured for use during the dry season.
The result: Parts of Phuket are already being held to ransom by private water suppliers who stand to gain when prices are inevitably pushed higher if the dry conditions prevail beyond tomorrow.
The areas most likely to suffer rationing or low pressure are east of Phuket City towards Koh Sireh and the thousands of households in Rassada. Deliveries of water in municipal fire trucks are already being considered, just in case. Residents may have to relearn how to wash from a bucket.
Thalang is safe for now - supplies to northern Phuket come from bang Jo, where there is sufficient water for now.
At Bang Wad reservoir, the island's largest collection-point, which supplies 60 percent of Phuket City's needs, the Director Pisak Chonlayoot says there are two million cubic meters. The island draws about 100,000 cubic meters a day from Bang Wad.
''The reservoir has a capacity of 7.3 million cubic meters but this could be expanded to 10.6 million with a new capital works investment,'' he said. ''We expect rain any day.''
It's astonishing that the nation's richest province outside Bangkok has yet to make future water supplies a certainty when so much rain falls. The deficiency plays into the hands of private water suppliers who boost prices when municipal supplies run low.
Phuketwan has suggested that future developments on Phuket should be obliged to meet 20 percent of their power requirements and 100 percent of their water needs through ponds, lagoons or large tanks. Such a move would slow development and ensure adequate future supplies of water for Phuket.