GEORGE TOWN: Penang residents have been told to be on “alert” as another round of muddy waters from the latest Baling floods could cause dry taps here yet again.
Penang experienced three days of water supply disruption in July for the same reason.
The latest muddy floods from Baling have already affected one of the three major water treatment plants (WTPs) in lower Kedah, with the Sungai Petani WTP forced to shutter about an hour ago.
Syarikat Air Darul Aman, the state water company, has already issued a water interruption notice to 35,000 accounts in the Sungai Petani area, with an official telling FMT the turbidity exceeded 1,000 NTUs an hour ago. Anything below that number (1,000 NTU) is considered normal.
As a comparison, in July, the WTPs in lower Kedah and Butterworth hit 3,000 NTUs, which is considered dangerous for human consumption.
Penang Water Supply Corporation CEO Jaseni Maidinsa said the situation remained under control in Penang as water from another dam was being channelled to the Butterworth plant to dilute turbid waters.
The Butterworth plant supplies 80% of the water for the entire state, with water drawn from Sungai Muda, a river that flows from Kedah. Sungai Muda is connected to two other rivers, Kupang and Ketil, in Baling.
Jaseni told FMT the turbidity levels at the Lahar Tiang water intake in Penang had hit 749 NTUs as of 4.30pm and were being constantly monitored.
He said about 300 million litres of water a day from the Mengkuang Dam was being pumped to the plant, and that it was 100% operational.
As of 8pm, Jaseni said the turbidity had doubled to 1,824 NTU.
Water supply disruption can be expected from Bukit Dumbar southward to Balik Pulau on the island, and the entire Seberang Perai central and southern districts on the mainland.
He said Penang’s main water treatment plant’s capacity had been reduced by 30%.
As of 3pm, 106 flood victims are at two relief centres in Baling, with the Padang Empang and Iboi villages still unsafe for occupation.
However, Bernama reported later in the evening that the temporary evacuation centre at Dewan Masjid Al Huda, Kampung Hangus, was closed at 7pm after the last family returned to their home.
Baling district civil defence force officer Faizol Aziz said that the PPS at Dewan Terbuka Kampung Padang Empang was still operational.
The earlier July floods in the same area claimed three lives and inundated 12 villages.
The July floods were caused by debris flow, an occurrence that takes place every decade or two, the Malaysian Professors Academy and the Malaysian Geology Institute had said in correcting the perception that it was caused by a headwater phenomenon.