Drought will persist until May, says Xavier

With padi planting taking place until April, states told to control the discharge of water. (Bernama pic)

SUNGAI PETANI: Malaysia is expected to experience a dry season until May, and Johor, Negeri Sembilan, Perak, Kedah, Pahang and Kelantan can expect less than 25% of the usual annual rainfall in the April-May period.

Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Xavier Jayakumar said the situation would cause hot and dry conditions and reduce river and dam resources in the state.

In view of the padi planting season until April, he said state authorities were being urged to regulate the discharge of water from affected dams.

“So far, two locations have not received rain for over 30 days. The areas are Hulu Perak in Perak (56 days, warning level) and Setiu, Terengganu (31 days, alert level),” he said in a statement today.

Seven locations namely Padang Terap (Kedah), Cameron Highlands and Kuantan (Pahang), and Dungun, Hulu Terengganu, Kemaman and Kuala Terengganu (Terengganu) received cumulative rainfall which were lower than the rainfall recorded during the El Nino phenomenon (2015-2016) or at danger level during the January-March period.

Rembau and Tampin in Negeri Sembilan, Rompin (Pahang) and Hulu Perak (Perak) were at warning level.

Xavier said three basins are expected to require additional water supply from the existing dams namely the Sungai Muda Basin (Beris Dam), Sungai Kedah Basin (Muda Pedu and Ahning Dams), and the Sungai Melaka Basin (Jus Dam).

He said this was due to padi cultivation activities being carried out until April this year.

“The Irrigation and Drainage Department is proposing to the state authorities to take action to regulate discharge of water from the affected dams,” he said.

On storage of water at the dams, Xavier said three dams recorded a capacity storage of over 50%, namely the Muda Dam in Kedah (58.97%) and two dams in Johor namely Machap (55.61%) and Sembrong (54.07%).

He advised that the distribution of water to consumers be controlled to meet use for daily necessities as well as for industrial and agricultural needs.