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Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Dam level almost critical

PUTRAJAYA: The water level in the Sungai Selangor dam – the state’s largest – may dip below the critical mark in a week and a water emergency may not be too far off.

Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry secretary-general Datuk Loo Took Gee said the level was currently at 32.74% of capacity.

“It may last 11 days to the threshold of 30%, maybe seven days,” she said in an interview here yesterday.

This was despite assurances by the Selangor government that there would be no water rationing and that levels in the state’s dams were under control.

Expressing pessimism that this was the case, Loo said water needed to be conserved as soon as possible.

She also did not discount the possibility of a water emergency, under which a state’s water resources and public usage patterns could be controlled by the minister, coming into effect in the near future.

However, raw water, she said, came under a state government’s jurisdiction and that the Federal Government could not supersede Selangor in declaring a possible emergency.

“We will have to discuss it with them. We cannot act unilaterally,” said Loo.

An emergency federal water mitigation project that would see 500 million litres of raw water channelled daily from the Semantan river in Pahang to the Langat river here would only be completed by October or November, she added.

An industry source warned that the state was doomed to face similar water supply problems over the next few years.

He said dams such as the Sungai Selangor needed to be at 100% capacity at the beginning of every year to cope with the country’s dry seasons.

“We have two dry seasons every year, each of which should bring the water levels down to 70%. The wet weather between the dry seasons will replenish the dam,” he said.

The Sungai Selangor dam, he said, might never reach 100% capacity again until the Langat 2 treatment plant was built.

“It will take two full years (to fill that dam),” he said, adding that water rationing in Selangor, which ended in late April, should have been continued to stretch the state’s water resources.

It was previously reported that normal water usage saw levels in the Sungai Selangor dam recede by 0.4% every day.

The state had also said that it would be using alternative sources such as pumping water from disused mining ponds into nearby rivers.

Tags / Keywords: Nation , water


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