Save water, second appeal to Penangites

The Mengkuang Dam in Penang. The prolonged drought has led to cloud seeding efforts to bring more rain to fill up dams in Penang.

GEORGE TOWN: The water authority in Penang today issued its second alarm in two weeks to the public to save water.

This came after reserves dwindled due to the extended drought and increased use during the festive season.

Penang Water Supply Corporation CEO Jaseni Maidinsa said despite cloud seeding efforts, the rains were not enough to fill up key dams. The Air Itam Dam is at 56.2% and the Teluk Bahang Dam is at 36.1%, as of yesterday.

In a statement, he said Penang’s key water source, the Muda river, had dipped to 1.46m yesterday, compared to normal levels of about 2m.

“I seek the understanding and support of all Penangites to save water. Use it wisely over the next two to three months until the rains arrive in April.

A table showing the capacities of the dams yesterday compared to Jan 15 when the first alert was issued. The Air Itam Dam is much smaller than the Teluk Bahang dam.

“Although Penang is not in immediate danger of water rationing, we must not be complacent. We should be proactive so as to avoid water rationing at all costs.

“We also call for sustained cloud seeding operations at dams in Kedah and Penang during this dry season,” he said.

Jaseni said for the time being, five measures are being carried out to save water. This included pressure management. This might see homes in higher grounds experiencing lower water pressure during peak hours.

He said a water plant in Butterworth would be maximised to 950 million litres a day (MLD) capacity to meet the state’s demand, which was 842 MLD last year.

The Sungai Muda has dropped in water level at the Lahar Tiang intake.

Jaseni said the water from the Mengkuang Dam would be used to pump water to the treatment plant in Butterworth. This has been going on since Jan 8.

The Mengkuang Dam is at 73.4% as of yesterday. This dam is rarely used due to defects in its water pumps, previous reports indicate.