PUTRAJAYA: The military will be mobilised to send treated water to areas where the taps have run dry, says Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
At the same time, dams deemed critical will be pumped with water sourced from nearby rivers and lakes, and from underground.
These are the immediate measures decided on by the central disaster committee chaired by Dr Ahmad Zahid to ease the water shortage problem brought on by the prolonged hot spell.
The Cabinet, which met on Wednesday, had directed the committee to look for solutions.
Dr Ahmad Zahid said the use of military facilities and equipment to send water to affected areas in Chini, Pahang and Dengkil, Selangor began three days ago.
The same will be done for other affected areas.
The committee is also in the midst of arranging for dams to be filled up. Seven dams at highly critical levels get priority.
The water reserve at Timah Tasoh dam in Perlis is only at 13.2% currently; Bukit Merah in Perak is at 13.66% and Gemencheh in Negri Sembilan is at 19.97%.
Four dams in Johor are also badly affected – Lebam (26.53%), Congok (32.28%), Layang (18.46%) and Labong (10%).
There are 41 dams in peninsular Malaysia.
On whether the Bukit Merah Dam area would be declared a disaster zone, Dr Ahmad Zahid said the matter had legal and financial implications.
“There will be some implications, especially when there is compensation to be paid out.
“So for the time being, we will look at how we can help improve the water level at the dam and ensure the people there get sufficient water supply for consumption and agriculture,” he said.
Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir had said that there was a possibility the Bukit Merah Dam area would be declared a disaster zone as the water at the dam was at a critical level.