Dry spell forces states to brace for rationing

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 30 Jan 2005

PETALING JAYA: Several states are bracing for water rationing in the months ahead as levels in their dams and rivers dip in the wake of the current dry spell nationwide. 

However, the state water authorities report that the situation has not reached an alarming stage although they have advised consumers to use water prudently. 

Perlis is worried that if the current drought in the state continues, the authorities may resort to water rationing by April or May. 

State Drainage and Irrigation department (DID) director Hanapi Mohamad Noor said in Arau yesterday that he would advise the state government accordingly if the water level at the Timah Tasoh Dam reaches a level that makes distribution to households a problem. 

“We may need to conduct water rationing then. But for now, the situation is under control,” he told reporters after attending a briefing for the Regent of Perlis, Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Jamalullail, on DID projects under the 9th Malaysia Plan. 

Hanapi said no rainfall was recorded in Perlis this month, and the water level at the dam was slipping 10mm daily owing to the drought. 

The water level at the Timah Tasoh Dam in Beseri is now at 27.48m, against the safe level of 29.1m, and the authorities are worried that it may drop to the critical level of 27m if it does not rain in the next two months. 

CAUSE FOR CONCERN: Timah Tasoh Dam employee Zainol Omar (left) and security officer Azhahar Shahidan inspecting the water level at the dam in Beseri, Perlis.--STARpic by G.C. TAN

In the Klang Valley, the water level at six dams has dipped by between 0.36m and 2.56m, signalling a need for the people to use water sparingly. 

At 7am yesterday, the Sungai Selangor Dam recorded a drop of 2.56m, with its current water level at 217.44m, while the Klang Gates Dam recorded a fall of 1.51m. 

Sungai Langat recorded a dip of 0.84m, while the water levels at Sungai Semenyih and Sungai Batu fell by 0.84m and Sungai Tinggi by 0.36m. 

Selangor’s water authority, Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd, advised consumers and industries to be thrifty when using water to ensure ample supply throughout the dry period, which is expected to end in March. 

State Infrastructure Committee chairman Datuk Abdul Fatah Iskandar said the continuous dip in all six dams warranted the need for households and industries to save water and only use it for essential needs. 

“The construction sector should also reduce water wastage as contract workers tend to leave the pipes open for several hours when they mix cement,” Abdul Fatah told The Star.  

In Seremban, state Energy, Water, Telecommunication and Rural Development Committee chairman Jamlus Aziz said the Negri Sembilan government had a contingency plan in case the situation turned critical. 

He said water resources in the state were sustainable despite supply at two dams gradually shrinking due to the current hot weather. 

“At the moment, I can confidently affirm that the supply can last us up to April if the dry season continues,” he saidw.  

He said water supply disruption in certain areas in Seremban recently was due to repair work, and not because of the dry season. 

In Kota Kinabalu, state Infrastructure Minister Datuk Raymond Tan said Sabah was monitoring the dry spell closely. 

Although there had been no reports of water sources drying up, the state government would consider imposing rationing if the drought continued. 

Penang Water Supply Corporation production manager K. Jeyabalan urged consumers to conserve water although, he said that the water level at the three dams in the state – Mengkuang, Teluk Bahang and Air Itam – was at a “comfortable position.” 

He said the Mengkuang Dam was at 60% capacity while in Teluk Bahang it was 63% and Air Itam Dam 73%. 

“We are also drawing 70% or about 640 million litres of water for our daily needs from the Muda River in Kedah,” he said. 

In Ipoh, the Perak Water Board and the state DID reported that water levels at the rivers and dams had dropped but there was no cause for alarm. 

Water board general manager Datuk Mohd Yusof Mohd Isa said Sungai Perak, which was the main source of water for most parts of the state, still had adequate water to cater to the needs of consumers. 

He said the drought had reduced the water in the river and dams but the yield was still adequate for all. 

In Kedah, the Muda Agriculture Development Authority (Mada) considered the water levels at the Muda, Ahning and Pedu dams “normal” for this time of the year although they were quite low.  

A Mada official said the capacity at Pedu, which can hold one billion cubic metres of water, was at 54% while Ahning (which can hold 275 million cubic metres) was at 29.5% and Muda (150 million cubic metres) 20.1%.  

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