KEPALA BATAS: In view of the El Nino phenomenon, the Federal Government should carry out cloud seeding in the northern states to help thousands of padi farmers, said Penang Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin.
He said priority should be given to the water catchment area in Sik, Kedah, where some 5,000 padi farmers in north Seberang Prai in Penang were getting water supply from.
“The district is in dire straits as only 1,546ha out of 8,500ha of padi field are supplied with water.
“The farmers in this district have been drawing water from Sungai Muda. We hope the Beris Dam in Sik, Kedah, will continue to release water into Sungai Muda.
“That’s why we need a national effort from the Federal Government to carry out cloud seeding in the northern states.
“Besides Penang, both Perlis and Kedah are also facing water shortage,” he said during a press conference at the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) office in Lahar Ikan Mati here yesterday.
Dr Afif also said it was difficult to irrigate the fields from Sungai Muda because the heatwave was drying up the river.
Pumping stations in Bumbung Lima and Pinang Tunggal, north Seberang Prai, are trying to channel water into the fields but the one in Pinang Tunggal is already suffering from low levels.
He said the level in Sungai Muda had to be at least 2m for the pumps to work efficiently.
“The water level at Pinang Tunggal station is at 1.9m and it cannot work effectively. But the station in Bumbung Lima with water level of 2.05m can pump and supply to certain areas only,” he said.
Dr Afif said the state government had allocated funds to carry out cloud seeding operations, adding that each operation costs RM14,700 daily.
He said so far, about 40% of padi fields in the state had been irrigated.