Mat Sabu: Cloud seeding in Kelantan to focus on seven areas

Photo: Bernama

SUBANG JAYA: The cloud seeding operation (CSO) in Kelantan will focus on seven strategic localities as part of efforts to address the drop in water level in Sungai Kelantan and the prolonged drought affecting padi farmers there, says Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu.

The Agriculture and Food Security Minister said the areas are Pasir Mas, Kota Baru, Tanah Merah, Pasir Puteh, Dabong, Kemubu and Manek Urai.

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He said the operation aims to increase the water level in Sungai Kelantan, which serves as the main irrigation source for the Kemubu Agricultural Development Authority (Kada) padi cultivation areas.

“This operation is expected to enhance the irrigation system in the Kemubu area, which has been experiencing prolonged drought.

“It will directly benefit nearly 3,400 padi farmers operating in this area.

“The CSO is an interim measure to address the issue of water scarcity for rice cultivation.

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“Various measures have been provided to farmers, including mobile pumps, booster pumps and tube well construction,” he said, Bernama reported.

Mohamad said this during a media briefing on the CSO in Kelantan before participating in the operation using a Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) C-130H transport aircraft from the Subang Air Base here yesterday.

On the latest CSO developments, he said that on the first day last Friday, rainfall was successfully induced in the southern zone of Kelantan but on the second day (Saturday), the operation was found to be less effective as no cloud formation occurred.

Elaborating on the matter, Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) deputy director-general (operations) Dr Mohd Hisham Mohd Anip said the formation of “towering cumulus” or cumulonimbus clouds is necessary for the cloud seeding process to produce heavy rainfall in a specific area.

“When these clouds begin to form and we seed them (spray with a mixture of salt and water), it will bring significant rainfall to the area.

“Typically, we prepare four tanks, each containing 200kg of salt and 1,500 litres of water, making a total of 6,000 litres of saltwater mixture prepared for this CSO,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mohamad said the country could face a shortfall of about 4% of its total rice production if the padi planting in Kelantan continues to be affected by the prolonged dry season.

Responding to questions about follow-up action if the three-day CSO proves less successful, he said the ministry would take short-term measures to address the issue.

Ministry secretary-general Datuk Lokman Hakim Ali explained that blasting rock formations to improve water flow near the Kemubu Pump House in Kota Baru is one possible short-term solution.

He added that tube wells will also be installed at 280 identified locations within Kada areas.

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