Penang wants to take back Mengkuang dam

An aerial view of the Mengkuang Dam with a capacity of 73.5 billion litres. The state handed over the dam to the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water for an expansion project in 2011. — Photo courtesy of PBAPP

PENANG is ready to take back the expanded Mengkuang Dam from the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry (KeTTHA), said PBA Holdings Bhd (PBAPP) chief executive officer Datuk Jaseni Maidinsa.

He said that taking over the dam was to enable PBAPP to start preparing the collection of rain at the next wet season, which is expected to start at the end of August.

“Mengkuang Dam is only 24% full now and we need to fill up the other 76%.

“We are willing to take back the dam.

“We want to be ready for the wet season or the water will be wasted as the Mak Sulong pumping station is designed to pump the water from Sungai Kulim to fill up the dam,” he told a press conference at his office in Komtar yesterday.

He said the expanded Mengkuang Dam, with a capacity of 73.5 billion litres, could supply 600 million litres per day during the dry season for 122 days.

“This will ensure Penang will have enough water to deal with dry spells.

“The pumping of water during the wet season will also help with flood mitigation,” he added.

Jaseni said the state government handed over the dam to KeTTHA for the expansion project which started in 2011.

“Now that it is completed, it should be handed back to the state,” he said.

He said a letter dated Feb 7 was sent by the State Secretariat to KeTTHA and the state was still waiting for a reply.

“The state laid down seven conditions to KeTTHA, which the ministry must comply before it hands back the dam and the Mak Sulong pump house.

“The first condition is that KeTTHA will have to allocate RM100mil for the construction of a new barrage across Sungai Muda at Rantau Panjang in north Seberang Prai.

“The new barrage will replace the existing barrage that was built 46 years ago.

“KeTTHA must also construct the originally specified RM80mil Lahar Yooi pump house under its Rolling Plan Four.

“Without this pump house, it will take a long time to fill and refill Mengkuang Dam.

“KeTTHA will also need to complete the originally specified RM100mil raw water pipeline project from the newly upgraded Mak Sulong pump house in central Seberang Prai to the Sungai Dua Canal by March 2020,” said Jaseni.

He added that the pipeline would be 6.85km long with a diameter of 1.6m, and it was needed for the efficient transfer of raw water from the dam to the Sungai Dua water treatment plant.

He added that as the dam was not filled yet, KeTTHA would have to bear the raw water pumping cost at the Mak Sulong pump house to completely fill up the dam.

KeTTHA would also be responsible for rectification work if any defects were detected when it is tested at its highest water level.

“Another condition is to have KeTTHA coordinate, facilitate and mediate talks between Penang and Perak on the proposed Sungai Perak Raw Water Transfer scheme.

“This scheme is urgently needed to ensure water security for both states until 2050,” he said.

Jaseni said 23 landslips were found at the dam site between September and November last year, and KeTTHA would have to repair the slopes.

“The ministry will have to rectify the grass cover on the berms of the dam,” he said.

He added that the dam would be closed to the public until all the damaged slopes were fully repaired.

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