Dry taps spell disaster for businesses

LANGKAWI: Running water has become a prized resource here, leading to the suspension of some businesses when taps run dry.

Such is the experience of hair salon owner Normaliza Che Abdul Tarim, who has to stop operations whenever there is supply disruption. “Most of the time, my shop has water only three days a week.

“I run my salon from noon to 9pm. There are times when there is water only in the evenings,” she said.

Normaliza, 37, said it was difficult to manage her business without water, adding that this has been going on since last year.

She said she had tried her best to store water but when there were too many customers, it would not be enough and she would have to close for the day.

This dry spell, she added, was the worst she has endured in her six years in the business.Thankfully, there is running water at home, even if it trickles.

Last month, Syarikat Air Darul Aman Sdn Bhd (Sada) warned Langkawi folk to brace for dry taps due to the El Nino phenomenon, compounded by leakages in the subsea water pipe supplying the archipelago with water from the mainland via Perlis.

The northern region has been badly affected by El Nino, resulting in weeks without rain.

The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) has said there were 14 areas in the north on Level One alert, namely Perlis, and many areas in Kedah such as Langkawi, Padang Terap, Sik, Baling, Kubang Pasu, Kota Setar, Pokok Sena, Pendang, Kulim and Bandar Bharu.

Other areas include Hulu Perak and Kuala Kangsar in Perak, Tangkak in Johor, and Beaufort in Sabah.

Level One means maximum daily temperatures of 35°C to 37°C for at least three consecutive days.

Kedah public works, natural resources, water supply and water resources and environment committee chairman Mohamad Yusoff @ Munir Zakaria said two factors had contributed to the water issues – the dry spell and leaks in the undersea water pipes.

“The leaks are being fixed but it is an ongoing process that unfortunately cannot be carried out daily due to the tidal window.

“Repairs can only be done at certain times, taking into account the tidal window – meaning only when the water is calm. This is usually around the early part of the month.

“It is a continuous effort as 47 leaks were detected along 5km of the 37km pipeline,” he explained.

Mohamad Yusoff said the water loss was the same as it was at the beginning of the month when works were carried out.

“It is still the same at around 45% of treated water for Langkawi being lost daily due to leaks in the undersea water pipes.

“Every time a clamp is placed on one of the leaks, we recover one million litres per day of treated water.

“It will take time but work is being carried out whenever possible,” he said.However, Mohamad Yusoff said the dry spell has added to the water cuts as there just was not enough water to cater to everyone’s needs.

“There is not enough water in our rivers due to the drought,” he said.

On Feb 8, Sada said up to 45% of treated water for Langkawi was lost daily due to leaks in the undersea water pipes supplying water from the mainland.

In a Facebook post, the company said this was causing it to incur high repair costs every time a leak occurs.

“Sada hopes that through the efforts and implementation of the undersea pipeline repair project, which is expected to be completed in January 2025, we will be able to overcome this leakage problem and minimise water supply disruptions in Langkawi,” it added.

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water , langkawi , businesses , sada , dry spell , el nino


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