WITH water capacity at the Ayer Itam dam expected to last for 75 days, the Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) has recommended for cloud seeding operations to be carried out to ensure continuous water supply.
Its chief executive officer Datuk Jaseni Maidinsa said both the Ayer Itam and Teluk Bahang dams have experienced insufficient rainfall since Jan 1 this year.
He said as of yesterday, the effective capacity of the Ayer Itam and Teluk Bahang dams was at 56.7% and 77.3% respectively.
“Looking at the effective capacity of the dams, we expect the Ayer Itam dam to last for 75 days and the Teluk Bahang dam to last over 170 days.
“For Mengkuang Dam, its effective capacity is at 94.8% which can last over 200 days, ” he said during a press conference at Ayer Itam dam yesterday.
With the ongoing dry spell, Jaseni pointed out that the Ayer Itam and Teluk Bahang dams had one of the worst recorded rainfalls this year compared with previous years.
“For Ayer Itam dam, we only have 123mm of rainfall between January and March this year.
“Previously, we had 482mm in 2017,495mm in 2018,184mm in 2019 and 100mm last year.
“The 123mm of rainfall recorded this year was a -61% variance from the average 315.3mm of rainfall recorded in the same period between 2017 and 2020.
“For Teluk Bahang dam, the recorded rainfall has dipped to only 54mm this year, compared to 895mm in 2017,887mm in 2018,255m in 2019 and 186mm last year.
“This is a -90.4% variance from the average 555.5mm of rainfall in the same period from 2017 to 2020.
“If this continues, the dams cannot be replenished so PBAPP is recommending for the state government to implement cloud seeding again this year.
“And this needs to be done during the rainy season as we can only do cloud seeding when there are clouds.
“We want to see cloud seeding done during the inter-monsoon period in April right up to December just like last year, ” he said.
Jaseni said last year, some RM450,000 was spent on 15 sessions of cloud seeding.
“That was what saved us last year. It was effective and we managed to get very good dam capacities for the dams.
“We achieved capacities higher than our targets for both dams.
“That is why we are still okay now, even in March.
“As such, we recommend for the state to have similar cloud seeding operations to be carried out.
“This is to achieve a minimum of 80% effective capacities at both dams by December this year.
“For now, PBAPP will continue with the dry weather supply engineering control measures.
“This is to sustain the storage capacities of both dams, ” he said.
Jaseni said the measures include optimising daily drawdowns from both dams and maximising water abstraction from Sungai Muda at the Lahar Tiang Intake as well as pumping raw water to the Sungai Dua Water Treatment Plant for treated water production.
“Water production will also be optimised from the Sungai Dua Water Treatment Plant in Seberang Prai and treated water will be pumped from the plant to the island via submarine pipelines.
“This is to ensure water supply efficiency.
“Additionally, we will be drawing down raw water from Mengkuang dam on the mainland to support water production at the Sungai Dua Water Treatment Plant, ” he said, adding that water consumers should use water wisely during the dry season.