Malaysia: Feeling the heat of El Nino

The Star 12 Mar 16;

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah has begun to rush water supply to 124 villages as the El Nino-induced dry spell started to take hold, with wells and lakes drying up.

The Department of Civil Defence and other agencies sent water to eight districts in the past 24 hours amid reports of crop failures due to the dry days.

The move came a day after Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman ordered all district officers to prepare for situations such as haze and drought.

Department director Col Mulliadi Al-Hamdi Ladin said staff were working with agencies such as the Fire and Rescue Department to provide water supply to the affected villages in Tuaran, Kota Belud, Keningau, Sook, Beaufort, Membakut, Menumbok and Kuala Penyu.

“An average of 100 cubic meters of water is being sent to each village,” he said, adding that more than 30 reports of crop failure in Kota Belud, which is Sabah’s rice bowl district, had been received.

“Wells and lakes are drying up. We are doing all we can to deal with it,” he said.

Mulliadi said the department was also waiting for more equipment like boats and lorries.

Firemen here, meanwhile, are battling at least 20 bushfires a day throughout Sabah.

Sabah Fire and Rescue Department director Nordin Pauzi said firemen had to be on standby at all times as the number of bushfires was increasing.

He said the number of open burning cases, including forest and bush fires, jumped from 188 in January to 431 between Feb 1 and 24.

Most of them occurred near housing and farm areas, he added.

Meteorologists are expecting rain next month but anxiety remains that the drought would prolong.


Power demand pushed to highest due to heatwave
The Star 12 Mar 16;

KUALA LUMPUR: The hot and dry spell in the past few days has pushed electricity consumption to its highest in peninsular Malaysia, with Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) recording an all-time high peak demand of 17,175MW on March 9.

The heatwave, due to the El Nino weather phenomenon, has seen the consumer demand for energy climbing since Monday, breaching the 17,000MW peak demand threshold.

The electricity usage broke the previous record in peak demand of 16,901MW registered on June 6, 2014.

Nonetheless, TNB said it had sufficient electricity generation in place and the higher demand projected would not have any impact on the reliability of power supply.

The current totalled installed capacity in peninsular Malaysia stood at 22,220MW, out of which 11,818MW is TNB’s own capacity while the balance is the total installed capacity of the independent power producers.

In line with the Government’s call for efficient use of energy, electricity customers are encouraged to adopt the following measures during peak hours of energy consumption (2pm to 5pm):

> Setting air conditioners at 23°C to 25°C.

> Ironing and washing clothes at night.

> Boiling water during off peak hours.

> Operating their machines or factories at night (large power users like cement manufacturers and steel millers).


Heatwave has Malaysians seeking cooler climes
JOASH EE DE SILVA The Star 13 Mar 16;

PETALING JAYA: Malaysians are hiding from the heatwave ... in their homes, offices, shopping malls and wherever there is air-conditioning.

Chan Ren Cheian, 25, who works with a publishing company, sought refuge in his air-conditioned office at 11am yesterday although his shift was starting only at 6pm.

“I couldn’t stop perspiring even after taking a cold shower,” said Chan, who lives in a small, non air-conditioned rented room in SS2 here.

According to the Meteorological Department, the temperature in Petaling Jaya at 4pm was 34°C, while Ipoh recorded 36°C; Alor Setar 37°C; Malacca 36°C and 38°C in Chuping, Perlis.

Post-graduate student Sin Tien Tan, 25, said he had been spending most of the past few days in his university’s library.

“I used to go to the library only to borrow or return books. But now I am also doing Internet research in the library,” said Sin.

hot weather

He added that there were also more people than usual in the library now, compared to previously.

Teacher Liew Nyuk Hsia, 32, will be hopping on a plane to Kuching for the school holidays to escape the heat.

“On accuweather.com, it says the temperature there is only 25°C, so it sounds like a good place to get away from the heat,” said Liew, who will be there from today till Saturday.

Sunway Shopping Malls chief executive officer and a Malaysian Shopping Mall Association adviser H.C. Chan said there would usually be an increase in the number of people in the malls during hot days.

“Generally, when it is hot, people want to go somewhere cool, comfortable and relaxing,” said Chan.

Personal financial consultant Kelvin Wong, 28, had been putting off spending RM300 to tint his car but now, the weather has pushed him to get it done.

“I can’t stand the heat anymore, so I’ve fully tinted the car,” he said.

As for undergraduate Chester Wong, 22, he is spending more time in the bathroom to take more cold showers.

“On a normal day, I only shower twice a day. But now, I’m taking nearly four to six cold showers a day,” he added.


No water rationing for now but use sparingly, SPAN urges
The Star 13 Mar 16;

PETALING JAYA: There will not be any water rationing for now but conservation efforts should begin, warns the National Water Services Commission (SPAN).

The commission’s corporate communications director Carol Pelly said SPAN was constantly working with water operators to monitor dam levels.

She said these operators would submit a request to carry out water rationing and SPAN would review the request and give its approval if it was deemed necessary.

“We will give reasonable amount of warning if water rationing is to be implemented,” Pelly said.

On Friday, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau said scorching heat was forecast on March 20.

He said the current hot spell could cause a heat wave if the temperature exceeded 35°C for five straight days or 37°C for three consecutive days.

Pelly said during the current hot spell, it was important for the people to use water sparingly and conserve as much as possible.

“Storing rain water to water plants will also allow treated water to be used for more urgent needs like cooking and drinking,” she added.

She also encouraged industrial users to review their current water management practices.

“They should promote good and efficient water usage, recycle water or even use alternative sources.”

Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia president S. Piarapakaran said even though the inter-monsoon season was expected in April, authorities should start preparing for the worst.

“What if the dry season persists longer than predicted? When there is a severe dry season, clouds are hard to come by and cloud-seeding cannot be carried out,” he said, adding that cloud-seeding should be done before a crisis sets in.

Recently, Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan was among the first to sound the alarm, urging consumers to be prudent with water usage as the levels were critical in five of the state’s dams, namely Sg Terip, Kelinchi, Talang, Teriang and Sg Beringin.


Heat wave spikes electricity demand in Msia to all time high
HARIZ MOHD New Straits Times 11 Mar 16;

KUALA LUMPUR: Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) recorded demand for electricity on Wednesday at 17,175 megawatts (MW), the highest ever in Peninsular Malaysia.

In a statement yesterday, TNB said the high consumption was pushed by the exceptionally hot weather in the past few days.

“The hot weather in the past few days had pushed electricity consumption to its highest in Peninsular Malaysia, with TNB recording an all-time high peak demand of 17,175MW on Wednesday.

“The heat wave, due to the El Nino weather phenomenon, saw consumer demand for energy soar since Monday, breaching the 17,000MW peak demand threshold.”

TNB said this broke the previous record peak demand of 16,901MW, which was registered on June 6, 2014.

The national energy provider said the higher demand would not affect the reliability of power supply as TNB had sufficient generational capacity.

It said there was capacity to generate 22,220MW of electricity in the peninsula, out of which 11,818MW was TNB’s own capacity, while the rest was from independent power producers.

“In line with the government’s call for the efficient use of energy, electricity consumers are encouraged to adopt measures during the peak hours of energy consumption between 2pm and 5pm.” The measures include setting air conditioners between 23ºC and 25ºC, ironing and washing clothes at night and boiling water during off-peak hours.

For large power users, such as cement manufacturers and steel millers, TNB advised them to operate machines or factories at night.

Consumers who wish to get more information on energy efficiency tips can refer to TNB’s website at www.tnb.com.my.

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