MIRI: Drinking water supplies in dozens of populated settlements in interior northern Sarawak have dwindled to critically low levels.
The drought is worsening in various locations in the rural outposts, even as the measures to tackle forest-fires continue.
Thousands of rural folks have been affected, said environmental watchdog group Save Sarawak Rivers.
Its chairman Peter Kallang told The Star Sunday (Sept 22) that drinking water supplies had declined to worrying levels in these settlements.
"In Baram district for example, ponds and water-intake points are drying up.
"Even river tributaries of the mighty Baram River are getting very shallow so much so that the water has become too murky for cooking or drinking.
"It has not rained for weeks in the interior," he said.
He said for example in the Long Ikang settlement in middle Baram district, more than a thousand longhouse folks are facing drinking-water woes.
"A proposal has been made to get the supply of bottled water to people in the affected longhouses," he said.
In the meantime, there are still forest-fires raging in Sarawak.
Latest updates from the State Disaster Relief Management Committee said there were seven hotspots in Sarawak with three in Sri Aman district and four in Miri district.
The use of Bombardier aircraft and Bomba helicopters to dump river-water over hotspots in Sri Aman have proven successful in reducing the smog and haze over the past few days.
Cloud-seeding operations in Sri Aman carried out by the Meteorological Department since Friday have also helped create rain to lessen the smog.
As of 9am today, the Air Pollutant Index in Sri Aman and Miri districts showed unhealthy levels at 183 and 107 respectively.