Teluk Bahang Dam at its lowest water level

THE water level of the Teluk Bahang Dam in Penang is now abnormally low due to low rainfall this year, says Datuk Jaseni Maidinsa.

The Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) chiefexecutive officer said the total rainfall recorded at the Teluk Bahang Dam catchment areas was 4,466mm between Aug 1 last year and July 31.

“This amount of rainfall is about 30% lower than the average rainfall of 6,411mm for the corresponding period in the past three years,” he said in a statement on Friday.

“The water level of the Teluk Bahang Dam was already low at the beginning of this year.

“The logical conclusion is that climate change over the past 12 months has caused less rainfall.

“As a result, the level of water dropped to 19% on Aug 6 and this is the lowest level since the dam was commissioned in 1999.

“However, the Teluk Bahang Dam is large. With 19% capacity, it is able to provide up to 59 days of continuous water supply (without any rain) to its service areas.

“The dam’s primary service areas are Teluk Bahang, Batu Ferringhi and Tanjung Bungah.”

Jaseni said the state had approved 16 cloud seeding operations this year to raise the water levels of the Ayer Itam Dam, Teluk Bahang Dam and Mengkuang Dam.

“The aim is to induce rainfall in the water catchment areas of dams in Penang and Kedah as well as Sungai Muda.

“A total of eight such operations were carried out between May 25 and July 10 this year.

“As a result, the levels of the Ayer Itam Dam and Mengkuang Dam were recorded at 46% and 87% respectively on Thursday.

“However, there was less rainfall in Teluk Bahang.

“Accordingly, another eight cloud seeding operations are scheduled to be carried out soon.

“These operations will be handled by a private company recommended by the Meteo-rological Department,” he said.

PBAPP has implemented several contingency plans to ensure continuous good water supply services in Penang since Jan 1.

It is monitoring dam capacities in Penang and Kedah as well as Sungai Muda river levels on a daily basis and minimising daily drawdowns from the Teluk Bahang Dam and Ayer Itam Dam.

Other measures include maximising water abstraction from Sungai Muda at the Lahar Tiang Intake Station and pumping raw water to the Sungai Dua Water Treatment Plant for treated water production.

PBAPP also carried out the optimising of water production from the Sungai Dua Water Treatment Plant in Seberang Prai and pumped more treated water from the plant to Penang Island via submarine pipelines to ensure water supply sufficiency.

It had been drawing down raw water from the Mengkuang Dam to support water production at the Sungai Dua Water Treatment Plant, when needed.

PBAPP also has plans to reduce treated water drawdowns from all reservoirs in the state from midnight to 6am daily.

Jaseni reaffirmed that PBAPP was on a ‘high alert’ status.

“More rainfall in late August and September has been predicted.

“The water level of the Teluk Bahang Dam will only increase if there is more rainfall in the specific water catchment areas of the dam.

“Rainfall in other areas of the state may not have an impact on the water level of the dam.”

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