Air Itam dam capacity inching towards critical level

Water capacity at Air Itam dam will dip into crictical level if it doesn’t rain soon. — K.T.GOH/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: Three festivals – Vaisakhi, Tamil New Year and Songkran – are taking place today and tomorrow but celebrants have been asked to be prudent when using water as the water level at the Air Itam dam is expected to dip further.

As of yesterday, the water capacity at the dam was 31.2%, which could last for 31 days.

Once it goes below 30%, the Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) will raise the alert level to critical.

The Air Itam dam caters to about 30,000 consumer accounts.

“As everyone is aware of the water level at the Air Itam dam, it is my earnest appeal to not waste water, especially during religious festivals,” said Penang Deputy Chief Minister II Jagdeep Singh Deo.

He said the public should heed PBAPP’s call and use water responsibly as the hot and dry season is not over yet.

“Penang has been fortunate that it has not had major water cuts even during critical periods.”

As such, he said that consumers should use water sparingly to ease the situation.

PBAPP chief executive officer K. Pathmanathan said the critical water level of the Air Itam dam is below 30%.

The critical benchmark for two other dams – Teluk Bahang and Mengkuang – is also 30%, he said.

“Everything is still manageable up to this stage.

“We have faced worse situations before. We still have 31 days of water with the present capacity,” he said.

Festive vibes will fill the air today and tomorrow, starting with the colourful Vaisakhi celebration and Songkran festival today.

The Vaisakhi celebration commemorates the founding of the Khalsa order by Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh Guru in 1699.

Tomorrow, several Hindu temples, including the Nattukotai Chettiar Temple at Jalan Waterfall in Penang, will be abuzz with activity as devotees perform prayers before enjoying vegetarian meals with their families to mark the Tamil New Year.

The day is also known as Varisha Piruppu or Puthandu (new year), which marks the first day of the first month of Chittirai in the Tamil calendar.

Songkran, or the water festival, marks the traditional Thai new year.

Malaysia Hindu Sangam Penang Council chairman A. Tharman said the people should always remember the tagline “save water, save life”.

“Use water only for essential needs. There is always a tendency to waste water during celebrations,” he added.

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