ALTHOUGH the water situation in Penang has not reached a critical stage, the water supply at the Ayer Itam dam can only last for another 45 days.
Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) chief executive officer Datuk Jaseni Maidinsa said they have to build up the capacity in the coming raining season.
“Ayer Itam dam can last 45 days while the Teluk Bahang dam can last 59 days. We definitely have to build up the capacity during the coming raining season.
“Cloud seeding will be ready for the next dry season from January to April next year, ” he said, adding that the water from the Teluk Bahang dam supplies to about 38,000 households in the Teluk Bahang town, Batu Ferringhi and parts of Tanjung Bungah.
Meanwhile, the state government would be conducting eight more cloud seeding exercises to deal with the diminishing water levels at the dams on the island.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said despite there being more recorded rainfall in the past few weeks, the rain was concentrated at the central Seberang Prai area.
“The state has approved an allocation of RM240,000 to carry out the eight cloud seeding exercises in hopes to raise the water levels at the Teluk Bahang dam.
“We hope with these could seeding exercises, the dam will record more rainfall in order to ensure there is no water rationing, ” he said at a press conference held at his office in Komtar.
Chow was responding to a question about the 19.5% water capacity at the Teluk Bahang dam which raised concerns about water rationing in the state despite the recent rainfall.
He said the rain in central Seberang Prai led to a higher capacity at the Mengkuang dam which is now showing a healthy water level reading.
“The Ayer Itam dam reading is not too bad but rain has not been recorded in the Teluk Bahang catchment area.
“We will carry out eight more cloud seeding exercises in the Teluk Bahang catchment area.
“The cloud seeding exercises however do not guarantee that there will be rainfall in the place we want it to fall. It could fall in a different location and is something beyond our control.
“We hope that Teluk Bahang will record rainfall to keep the dam level high, ” he said.
On when the exercises would be carried out, Chow said the Meteorological Department will assess the cloud conditions before cloud seeding exercises are conducted.
“We need clouds as the prerequisite condition to conduct cloud seeding exercises so this will be assessed by the Meteorological Department.
“Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) will divert water from other sources, such as from Mengkuang dam, to be used if the need arises.
“Water rationing will only be the last resort, ” he said.
A check with the PBAPP website showed that the Ayer Itam dam was at 46.1% capacity, the Teluk Bahang dam at 19.5% and the Mengkuang dam at 87.6%.