Saturday June 26, 2004

States on water alert as dry spell sets in

PETALING JAYA: The water level at dams nationwide is dipping and the weatherman predicts a drought that will drag until September.
Several state water authorities are already on alert, with many of them advising consumers to use water sparingly.
The south-westerly winds the country is now experiencing is not going to bring any heavy rain, said the Malaysian Meteorological Services Department.
Its director, Kang Thean Shong, said rain was not expected in most parts of the peninsular with the current winds.
LESS WATER: The currentdry spell has resulted in drops in dam water levels across the country. Seen here is the Teluk Bahang Dam in Penang at about 74% full yesterday.
“Some afternoon thunderstorms are only expected after September when we go into the inter-monsoon season,” he said.
Kang said the department was planning to carry out cloud seeding in various parts of the country, but this would depend on cloud formations.
“We are getting ready to carry out cloud seeding. However, because of current conditions, we are unable to because suitable clouds cannot be found,” he said.
In Mersing, Johor, the water level at the Congok Dam dropped to a critical level, from 5m to 3.8m, dipping below the critical level of 4m, according to SAJ Holdings Sdn Bhd corporate communication department head Jamaluddin Jamil.
Water tanks are being used to supply water to some 13,000 affected residents in the district.
Water levels of six dams in the Klang Valley also took a dip, with the Sungai Langat Dam recording the highest drop of 4.87m to 216.09m from its capacity of 220.96m.
Selangor Water Management Corporation Bhd (PUAS) general manager (operations) V. Subramaniam said the water level at the Klang Gates Dam dropped by 2.95m, Sungai Tinggi by 1.13m, Sungai Semenyih by 0.97m, Sungai Batu by 0.21m and Sungai Selangor by 0.1m.
In Sarawak, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam said the state was bracing for a drought, directing all 11 divisions to reactivate their disaster relief committees and prepare for any eventualities.
In Sabah, the dry spell in northern Kota Marudu and Kudat has stopped farmers from planting padi due to the drying up of their irrigation canals and rivers.
State Infrastructure Development Minister Datuk Raymond Tan said water department offices in various districts were also taking steps to meet any emergency requirements to supply water in the event the dry spell affects water sources and reservoirs in the state.
In Penang, a State Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) official said the water level in the main dams in the state – Teluk Bahang and Air Itam on the island and the Mengkuang on the mainland – had dipped but not to a critical stage.
He said the water capacity at the dams, which were about 95% full in January, was now about 60% at Mengkuang, 66% at Air Itam and 74% at Teluk Bahang.
In Negri Sembilan, Energy, Water, Telecommunication and Rural Development Committee chairman Jamlus Aziz said the situation was not serious although the supply level at certain dams, particularly Sungai Terip, had dipped slightly due to the dry weather over the past few days.
He said the state water department had prepared a contingency plan in case the level dip further.

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