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Dams drying up fast in some states


KUALA LUMPUR: DAMS in some states are drying up due to the hot and dry weather, with Sungai Lebam Dam in Johor at below the critical level.


Residents in Kota Tinggi, Johor, have been advised to use water sparingly as the water level in Sungai Lebam Dam is almost 2m below the critical level.


Johor International Trade, Investment and Utilities Committee chairman Jimmy Puah Wee Tse said the normal water level in the dam was 14m, while the critical level was 12.7m, but current readings showed it was at 10.9m.


“The current hot and dry spell is a cause for concern to the Johor government.


“We do not want water supply problems in Kota Tinggi as there are about 100,000 residents living in Pengerang, Teluk Ramunia, Air Tawar and Tanjung Balau,” he said, adding that there was sufficient water supply for about 70 days.


Puah said the Lok Heng Dam here was showing a water level of 2m, just 50cm above the critical level.


“The water supply can last for 21 days and if it continues to decline, it will affect about 20,000 residents.


“However, we have a ‘backup plan’ that entails digging three tube wells in the area near the dam.”


In Sabah, there are only two months of water storage left with eight rivers at critical level and nine on alert level.


State Water Department director Amarjit Singh said the overall water storage of dams in Sandakan, Kudat, Penampang, Tamparuli, Semporna and Lahad Datu was at 80 per cent.


Papar is one of the areas affected by water woes due to the malfunction of a water treatment plant in the district.


“Papar is facing a problem because one of its plants has saline (sea water) intrusion,” he said, adding that the district was getting 10 million litres less and the department had installed a weir in Sungai Kopogon to increase water supply levels.


On the water supply issue in Keningau, Amarjit said the villagers had access to alternative water sources, adding that the department would send tankers to Bingkor.


As for Sipitang, the department would need time to look into the cause of the problem pending a report from district officers.


“It is believed that the construction of the Pan-Borneo Highway in Sipitang has disrupted the water supply.”


Amarjit gave an assurance that the department would resort to cloud seeding if the dry spell continued after April.


Those affected and who need water supply can contact the department’s careline at 088-326888.


In Penang, checks revealed that the water level at Teluk Bahang Dam was at 78.4 per cent on Saturday and dropped to 77.2 per cent yesterday.


The water level at Air Itam Dam dropped from 67.3 per cent on Saturday to 64.1 per cent yesterday.


Penang has not experienced any rain since last Wednesday evening.


Penang Water Supply Corporation chief executive officer Datuk Jaseni Maidinsa had said water supply was adequate and the situation under control.


He said the water in the dams was enough even if Penang did not experience any rain for the next 100 days.


In Kelantan, four rivers in eight districts registered a decrease in water levels since the dry spell began early this month.


The Drainage and Irrigation Department portal showed that water levels in Sungai Galas, Sungai Kelantan, Sungai Golok and Sungai Pergau have recorded a decrease.


Sumber: New Straits Times


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