Malaysia: In dire need of water everywhere

NORBAITI PHAHARORADZI The Star 20 Apr 16;

KOTA TINGGI: Scheduled water cuts have forced businesses here to scramble for ways to ensure that their operations are not disrupted during the month-long exercise.

Food stall and car wash operator Saidatul Amira Abdul Razak, 23, said she was considering whether to buy a 2,200-litre water tank or use their well to cope.

“I can only think of using the well which we dug last year for water to wash the cars.

“But the dry spell has made the well unreliable.

“My last resort is to buy the tank but because this is quite expensive, I need to make do with mineral water for cooking and the river for my car wash for the moment,” she said when met here.

Rather than taking the risk, poultry farmer Shahnur Nazri, 30, has gone ahead and bought nine 2,200-litre tanks for the 90,000 chickens at his farm in Kg Tuansheh here.

“I cannot depend on the tankers from the water supplier.

“I need all the water in the nine tanks just for my chickens every day,” said Shahnur, who spent about RM600 for each tank.

“One option is to take supply from a canal in Teluk Mahkota to fill up my tanks,” he said.

Majidah Tok Pa, who runs a restaurant in Pekan Tanjung Sedili here, said she needed to use polystyrene cups, plates and utensils to save as much water as possible.

“We are forced to make this trade-off to conserve water. Although it is a bit pricey for us to buy these, I have no choice but to absorb the costs,” he said.

Sub-contractor Zamrul Ahmad, 41, said he expected some of his projects in town to be disrupted as he did not have enough storage for water.

Retiree Nik Ismail Wan Ibrahim, who lives in Kg Sayang with his wife and daughter, said they had been storing water since Sunday and choosing to eat in restaurants.

The scheduled water cut in Lok Heng and Sungai Gembut in Kota Tinggi and Sungai Mersing and Tenglu in Mersing is expected to last until May 15.


Plans in the pipeline to end Sabah's water woes
STEPHANIE LEE The Star 20 Apr 16;

KOTA KINABALU: Comprehensive short and long-term plans are already on the table to resolve water problems across the state, said Sabah Special Tasks Minister Datuk Teo Chee Kang (pic).

The plans include tackling water shortages caused by natural disaster, including the current dry spell, he said.

Teo said the state government also approved a Climate Change Mitigation Programme to improve water supply.

The programme studies the effects of climate change and natural disaster on water supply and comes up with a comprehensive risk management strategic plan, he said.

“It will include the exploration of alternative water resources, such as underground water, during a disaster,” Teo said at the Sabah state assembly when answering a question from Datuk James Ratib (BN-Sugut), who wanted to know what steps were being taken by the government to face the dry spell, particularly in rural areas.

Teo added that Sabah is looking to upgrade its facilities to protect and preserve water supply and speed up the gazetting of catchment areas.

“MetMalaysia is installing automatic weather stations in six districts to monitor the situation in Sabah’s interiors,” he said, adding that RM68mil will be spent to improve weather inspection systems.

“This short-term project of MetMalaysia expected to be completed by next year will increase weather forecast accuracy," he said.


No water rationing
EDWARD RAJENDRA The Star 20 Apr 16;

THERE will be no water rationing in Selangor as water levels at its dams have remained consistent.

Selangor Waters Management Authority (LUAS) acting director Nor Zamri Sondor assured residents that water would not be rationed due to the long hot spell brought about by the El Nino phenomenon.

He said cloud seeding operations and transfer of water from 19 alternate catchment ponds in the state to seven dams had proven to be a proactive move in stabilising water levels.

“Our past experience made us plan much earlier and we took measures to address the dry spell including cloud seeding and water transfer from catchment ponds Selangor’s river basin,” he said.

The Selangor river basin can supply up to 800 million litres of raw water a day.

The water level at all seven dams were high especially at Sungai Selangor and Sungai Tinggi dams, which provided nearly 60% of Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya’s water supply.

Nor Zamri added that the water level at most of the dams were sustained at above 70% and the submersible pumps were able to operate in an efficient manner.

“Our cloud seeding operations using hygroscophic seeding began early in 2015 where 410 cloud- seeding activities were carried out with RM5mil allocation. Knowing that 2016, could put a strain on the dams, we doubled our efforts with the transfer of water from alternate catchment ponds,” he said.

He said in 2016, Selangor allocated RM16mil for cloud seeding, transfer of water from alternate catchment ponds and other water operations.

“From January to April, we carried out 130 cloud seeding operations,” he added.

Hygroscopic seeding helps enhance rainfall using a fine spray of salt generated by pyrotechnic flares.

Concerns over Selangor’s water supply have been the foremost issue on people’s minds as northern parts of Perlis from Wang Kelian, Kaki Bukit, Titi Tinggi, Beseri and Abi as well as Johor in the south had begun water rationing.

Some residents who called up StarMetro on whether there would be water rationing in the state, want the Selangor government to keep them informed about the water supply situation given the hot season.

Selangor Environment Association president M. Varatharajoo praised LUAS for doing a good job in providing treated water.

He, however, advised the people to use water sparingly to complement the state’s efforts to conserve water at the dams.

Nor Zamri said the alternate catchment ponds were part of the Hybrid off River Augmentation System.

“Cloud seeding is done over some catchment areas and river basins to increase water supply. Selangor has enough water resources and water levels at the dams remain adequate. Water usage per capita is high at 235 litres a day.

“As such, we urge consumers to take measures to save water to ensure continuous supply,” he added.

As of April 18, the capacity of water reserves in most dams exceeded 70% - Batu Dam (72.39%), Semenyih Dam (71.12%), Langat Dam (73.38%), Klang Gates Dam (64.75%), Sg. Selangor Dam (67.35%), Tasik Subang Dam (87.93%) and Sg. Tinggi Dam (76.88%).

Islanders risking their lives for water supplies
RUBEN SARIO and STEPHANIE LEE The Star 20 Apr 16;

KOTA KINABALU: Getting water for their families has become a daily risk for villagers in remote Tambisan island in the east coast Lahad Datu district.

Earlier this month, a villager cheated death when his boat capsized after being hit by strong waves while he was rowing across a narrow channel to transport water to the island.

Despite the dangers, the islanders remain undeterred and continue to transport water from the mainland to the only village there using their perahu (small boat) loaded with 800- or 1,400-litre tanks.

Tungku assemblyman Datuk Suhaili Said said the villagers knew that this way of transporting water was dangerous.

“But they have no choice as there is no water at all in Pulau Tambisan,” he said yesterday.

He said Tambisan’s population comprised about 200 families, most of whom were subsistence fishermen.

The island also has a police station and a school that serves children from the mainland.

Suhaili said there had been no rain in the area for several months, adding that existing wells in Tambisan had dried up.

The assemblyman said he had donated funds for a well on the mainland and a pump, pipes and hoses for the villagers to draw water.

“They still have to transport the water across the channel, which can get choppy and unsafe. But they have no choice,” he added.

Suhaili said he had appealed to the authorities to drill tube wells on Tambisan for long-term water supply in the island.

Assistant Infrastructure Development Minister Datuk Ghulam Khan said the tube well proposal for Tambisan was being studied.

Meanwhile, inter monsoon rains that brought relief to most parts of Sabah a week ago are showing signs of tapering off with isolated showers in the west coast area.

Meteorologists are forecasting rain over various parts of Sabah in the next 72 hours.

Getting water remains a struggle for many islanders in Banggi, Jambongan, Sebatik and other smaller islands.

State agencies providing assistance have sent supply to Banggi but villagers are still lamenting the difficulty in transporting water from Banggi’s main settlement of Karakit to other villages.

“It is too expensive for many people to charter a vehicle to collect water from Karakit. We hope the government can help,” said Banggi islander Salma Marais.


Schools in Jerantut and Kuala Krai are closed today
The Star 20 Apr 16;

KAJANG: Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said schools in the Jerantut and Kuala Krai districts will close today and tomorrow due to the heatwave.

He said the temperature in these two places had exceeded 37°C for the past 72 hours.

The Education Ministry said in a statement yesterday this would involve 30 secondary and 89 primary schools.

“This affects 41,665 students comprising 38,849 in primary and secondary schools with the rest in pre-schools,” said the statement.

The ministry said students would be excused from attending classes, with no replacement school day required, but staff would still have to be in school to carry out other duties which did not involve teaching.

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