Johor water crisis worsens despite recent rainfall

KULAI: Despite heavy downpours of late, the water crisis in Johor has worsened, with at least 275,000 people having to face scheduled water rationing.

Parts of Kota Tinggi, Penggerang and Mersing will be the latest to be affected due to the falling water levels in the dams and water treatment plants in the area.

Water rationing is already ongoing in Simpang Renggam involving 150,000 people.

Johor International Trade, Investment and Utilities Committee chairman Jimmy Puah said from Oct 8, about 100,000 people who get water from the Lebam dam in Kota Tinggi would be affected.

Among the areas affected were Bandar Penawar, parts of Kota Tinggi, Pengerang, Tanjung Balau and Teluk Ramunia, he said.

“After that, we expect scheduled water rationing to hit Mersing due to low water levels at the Labung water treatment plant, which will affect about 25,000 people, ” he added.However, the date for the water rationing in Mersing had yet to be fixed, he said after presenting education grants to 32 people from his constituency yesterday.

To a question, he said some of the dams had enough supply for just 10 days while others could last up to 90 days.

Among the dams which had shown a dip in their water levels were Lebam, Upper Layang, Pulai, Pontian Kechil, Labong, Macap, Sembrong and Bekok.

Puah said water rationing in Simpang Renggam, which has affected about 150,000 people, would continue due to a drop in water level at the Macap Dam caused by the dry weather earlier.“We need at least one week of continuous rainfall to replenish all the water in our dams statewide, ” he said, adding that they planned to carry out at least 10 cloud-seeding activities by the end of the year.

Puah was hopeful that the rainy season by the end of October would help resolve the situation.

Meanwhile, Bernama reported that Melaka folk were hoping that the authorities would provide more effective contingency plans and take note of public opinion on the issue of water shortage in the state.

Food stall operator Rohana Abdullah, 43, said if action plans were effectively carried out, residents would not need to suffer during the dry seasons.

“My knees and back are already hurting after having to carry five to six pails of water every day from the water tankers, ” she told Bernama.

Rohana, who sells nasi lemak, also hoped that the relevant authorities such as Syarikat Air Melaka Berhad (SAMB) could inform consumers much earlier about any water supply disruption.

Norhafizah Saidin, 45, from Taman Angkasa Nuri, said those responsible for managing the water supply should be more forthcoming in providing information.

“Important information about water levels at dams being at a critical stage, for example, should be made known to the public so that they will be better prepared or at least cooperate by reducing water consumption, ” said the mother of three.

Nevertheless, Norhafizah lauded the state government and SAMB for providing water supply trucks throughout the water crisis since Sept 14.

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