Drought hits Johor dam, water rationing for 15,000 in Kota Tinggi

The drop in water levels at dams in Johor has been particularly significant due to the hot and dry weather. (AFP pic)

JOHOR BAHRU: Some 15,000 residents in the Felda Gugusan Lok Heng, Felda Waha and Bukit Easter areas in Kota Tinggi will be affected by a water rationing exercise which could be as early as this weekend as the water level at the Lok Heng Dam is low.

State International Trade, Investment and Utilities Committee chairman Jimmy Puah Wee Tse said the reading at the dam was now at 1.43m, below the rationing level of 1.5m. The “normal” water level is 2.75m.

“We cannot avoid this. We have to ration and I hope the people understand. This is due to the extraordinary weather factors.

“However, we will increase our efforts and will look for more water resources as soon as possible.

“But for now, we have to accept that we will soon experience water supply disruptions,” he told reporters after visiting the Sultan Iskandar Water Treatment Plant (LRA) at Pasir Gudang here today.

Head of corporate communications SAJ Ranhill Sdn Bhd Jamaluddin Jamal, who was present, said that residents will be notified of the water rationing exercise.

The company is responsible for water supply services in Johor.

Puah said water rationing would also be carried out soon in the Sungai Gembut and Sedili areas, which would affect about 25,000 residents, following the drop in water level at the Sungai Gembut River.

“The water level at the river has dropped to 0.19m compared with the normal level of 0.70m. The water level will last for only five days,” he said.

“Hence, the public is advised not to waste water as water rationing has started,” he said.

Meanwhile, Puah said the Sultan Iskandar LRA, the largest water treatment plant in the state and capable of providing water to 600,000 residents in Pasir Gudang, Johor Jaya, Seri Alam and Permas Jaya has water supply for 69 days.

“But we have a back-up plan for water pumps from the Seluyut Dam of nearly 130 million litres a day to ease the pressure should it reach a critical stage,” he said.

He said the recent drop in water levels in the treatment plant and the dams in the state had been particularly significant, although the country had been experiencing the hot and dry weather phenomenon since 2016.