TAIPING: Low water levels in Bukit Merah Dam will not be a concern anytime soon, with checks revealing that the dam is brimming with water.
According to the Irrigation and Drainage Department's portal, publicinfobanjir.water.gov.my, the water level at the dam is above 8.7m, making it unlikely that the area it serves will experience water shortages.
"We were able to paddle more than 5km up a far corner of the dam – and there was still more water ahead of us in the upper reaches," said kayaker Loke See Mun, 31, who visited the lake on Thursday (Aug 11).
During the dry weather period on May 28, The Star reported that the dam's water level was just 5.98m at the deepest point, with the upper reaches of the dam turning into a vast expanse of mudflats.
At Orang Utan Island, water depth was then less than 75cm and the animal sanctuary could not receive visitors as access is only possible by passenger boat.
Food for the orang utan had to be sent by kayak, which can traverse shallow waters.
Orang Utan Island Foundation recently announced that visitors can now return to the island.
The Perak state government acted quickly, launching cloud-seeding plans and cutting off irrigation canals to ensure water treatment plants had water.
A proposal to the Federal Government to build a system to divert some of Sungai Perak's flow into this dam is also on the drawing board.
Built in 1906, Bukit Merah Dam is one of the country's oldest and was originally built to allow padi farmers practise twice-a-year harvesting. It has a catchment area of 480sq km.