THE Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) is initiating dry weather control measures to sustain continuous good water supply in the state.
PBAPP chief executive officer Datuk Jaseni Maidinsa said the corporation is monitoring the data of the dams in Penang, Sungai Muda, and the dams in Kedah that release water into Sungai Muda daily.
“The two dams in Kedah that are releasing water into Sungai Muda are the Muda Dam and Beris Dam.
“We are also minimising raw water drawdowns from the Air Itam Dam; and pumping in water from other sources to meet the water demand in Air Itam and Paya Terubong.
“We have increased water production at Sungai Dua, Guillemard and Batu Ferringhi water treatment plants to support this effort.
“When we reduce the water release from the Air Itam Dam, that shortfall must be met by other treatment plants.
“We ‘push’ the water from George Town towards Air Itam. We have a pumping station at Padang Brown and we are ‘pushing the water backwards’,” he told a press conference at Komtar today.
Jaseni said that the corporation was also optimising the abstraction of raw water from Sungai Muda at the Lahar Tiang Intake.
“We are also providing updates on Penang’s water supply status and promoting water conservation,” he said.
Jaseni revealed that the effective capacity of the Air Itam Dam was at 60.4% on March 6.
“The effective capacity of the Air Itam Dam has dropped by 31.8% since the beginning of the year. Its effective capacity was 92.2% on Jan 1 this year.
“The Air Itam Dam’s raw water storage is projected to last another 59 days. The Air Itam Dam supplies water to about 175,000 people in Air Itam, Paya Terubong, as well as the surrounding areas along Jalan Air Itam, up to Jalan Masjid Negeri,” he said.
On the Sungai Muda status report, Jaseni said the level of Sungai Muda had dropped significantly.
“More than 80% of Penang’s raw water is sourced from Sungai Muda daily.
“The level of Sungai Muda was 2.35m on Jan 1. The level has dropped to 1.55m on March 6.
“Without Kedah’s strategic raw water releases from the dams in Kedah, the levels of Sungai Muda would have fallen below the critical level of 1.5m,” he said.
Jaseni said that PBAPP remained proactive in ensuring continuous good water supply in the state.
“The hot and dry weather has caused significant drops in the effective capacity of the Air Itam Dam and the Sungai Muda level.
“PBAPP has a contingency plan that includes several actions.
“We can initiate the emergency drawdown of raw water from Mengkuang Dam. Although the expanded Mengkuang Dam is now at 46% full, it is equivalent to 100% capacity of the old Mengkuang Dam.
“The Mengkuang Dam is a ‘strategic dam’. We do not release water daily, like we do for the Air Itam Dam and the Teluk Bahang Dam.
“We will only release water from Mengkuang Dam when there is not enough water supply from Sungai Muda and if our request for Kedah to release more water into Sungai Muda faces problems,” he said.
Jaseni said: “There is a possibility that the ‘2016 Super El Nino’ is making a comeback.”
“We will request for cloud seeding if releasing more water into Sungai Muda doesn’t work. However, cloud seeding can only be conducted when there are clouds, especially during the inter-monsoon season.
“If cloud seeding method also doesn’t work, then we will recommend to the state government to delay paddy planting,” he said.
Jaseni said PBAPP sought cooperation from all water consumers to save water.
“Please do not use a hose unnecessarily to wash your car, water your garden, clean your house or to cool down your house compound. You waste a lot of water when you use a hose,” he added.
For more water saving tips, visit www.pba.com.my
Story by Christopher Tan
Pix by Alissala Thian and courtesy of PBAPP