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Monday March 1, 2010

Sungai Jernih identified as the source of Malacca’s third dam

ALTHOUGH it happened almost two decades ago in 1991, the memory of the six-month-long water shortage of that year still lingers in the minds of Malaccans.

Families, irrespective of status, race or religion, had to endure the prolonged daily water rationing.

Hotels and factories paid thousands of ringgit to get water for their businesses.

Well prepared: Mohd Ali checking on water being drawn from Sungai Gerisik in Muar for storage at the Durian Tunggal Dam in Alor Gajah.

It was common to see houses in the city and its outskirts having an assortment of pails and containers on their porches to store all the water they could get.

Fears of water rationing has come back to haunt Malaccans.

The hot and dry spell resulted in media reports of water levels at dams in several states being lower than usual.

However, the concerns were laid to rest when Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam announced that the water level at the Durian Tunggal Dam in Alor Gajah and the Jus Dam in Jasin were satisfactory.

It was found that the levels at Durian Tunggal and Jus were 73% and 74% respectively while the normal levels is 82%.

Mohd Ali said the supply was ample to meet Malacca’s daily water needs of 103 million litres.

Because of the lessons of the past, the state is confident of a steady water supply despite the hot dry spell.

In 2000, the state embarked on several projects to address Malacca’s water needs.

Among them was the creation of the Jus Dam capable of storing 43 billion litres of water while the older Durian Tunggal Dam has a capacity of 32 billion litres.

There is also another 800 million litres stored at several bunds across the state besides some 30 million litres pumped daily from Muar River into the Durian Tunggal Dam.

Based on estimates, Malacca’s water supply will remain steady until 2018 before a shortage could occur.

As this is only eight years away, the state has identified Sungai Jernih as the source of Malacca’s third dam and intends to have the dam completed by 2022 to be secure about the state’s water needs.

With global warming looming as a reality, it is in the best interest of Malacca and its people to continue giving attention to managing the state’s water resources.