Sebatik dam restarts operations after successful cloud seeding ops in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: The Sebatik dam, which had dried up, is now back in operation after cloud seeding operations were carried out over two days in the east coast Tawau district.

Deputy Chief Minister III Datuk Shahelmey Yahya said that the water treatment plant at the dam was now operating at "minimal" level following rainfall from the cloud seeding operations.

The cloud seeding operations were also carried out over Papar and Lahad Datu districts from March 28.

"We are still assessing if the rain was over the water catchments. The Sebatik dam received some rainfall and can now function, producing at a rate of 0.3 million litres per day (MLD).

"This is a good sign because Sebatik is one of the areas in Sabah that has been dry since the beginning of the year apart from Papar," he said, adding that the state hoped the cloud seeding operations were successful in ensuring sufficient rainfall in the catchments.

Speaking to reporters after breaking fast with orphans from As-Sakinah Orphanage here, he said they hoped for rainfall to hit water catchments in Papar district before the water treatment plant at Limbahau could be restarted.

He said the Limbahau water treatment plant was shut down after seawater went upstream to the water treatment plant area due to the drying up of the river.

"If the catchments in Papar receive the rainfall, it will allow the river water to flow downstream to push back the sea water," said Shahelmey who is state Works Minister.

He said water distribution through tankers would still continue in all affected districts in the state.

Based on a briefing by the Malaysian Meteorological Department to the state Cabinet, he said rainfall is expected by the middle of April with the inter-monsoon phase setting in.

On water thefts by squatters, he said that they already started a pilot project in Sepanggar here, by providing a vendor to sell the water to the squatter area.

"We are confident that through such a process of selling the water through a vendor, it will benefit consumers," he added.

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