Hot spell sees dip in Penang’s Air Itam dam

GEORGE TOWN: Penang’s Air Itam dam is dipping low in water levels after weeks of hot weather and little rainfall.

The Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBA) has activated its “dry weather water supply control measures” to ensure water is available until the dry spell ends.

In a statement released today, PBA said the Air Itam dam was the worst affected, with effective capacity dropping by 25% from Jan 1 to Feb 18 from 92.2% to 67.3%. It said a low rainfall of 94mm in the same period caused the drop in water capacity.

PBA also said consumption of water spiked significantly in Air Itam, with a 327% increase in the average daily drawdown in the same period.

The Air Itam dam, one of two dams on the island, supplies water to Air Itam town.

The Teluk Bahang dam on the northeast of the island recorded a slight increase of 0.3% with rainfall of 172.5mm recorded in the same period, PBA said.

It urged users to be mindful of their water use.

“Such a high level of water consumption is dangerous, especially when the raw water storage in the Air Itam dam is being depleted significantly.

“The people must also play their roles to save water in support of Penang’s ‘no water rationing’ policy. Please note that we cannot accurately predict when the rains will arrive to refill the Air Itam dam,” it said.

Currently, most of the state relies on treated water drawn from the Sungai Dua treatment plant in Butterworth, which is drawn from the Penang portion of the Sungai Muda river.

Other dams supply water to immediate townships nearby.