Malaysia: Selangor carrying out cloud seeding to increase water levels at dams

ALLISON LAI The Star 14 Apr 16;

SHAH ALAM: The Selangor government will consider increasing cloud seeding operations if necessary due to the dry spell, said Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (pic).

The Selangor Mentri Besar said the state has been carrying out cloud seeding operations twice daily since last year to increase water levels at dams.

''We are concerned with the water levels of some of our reservoirs.

''We have decided to increase our flights for cloud seeding if the need arises,” he said after visiting the low cost flats at Seksyen 28 here Sunday.

‎Azmin said RM5mil has been spent on cloud seeding since last year and the operations have yielded results in increasing water levels at the dams.

''Certainly we will need to do more if we want more rain in Selangor.

''In fact, we just had a special meeting last week after several dams were reported to be at low levels, and measures have been taken to address the problem," he added.

Azmin said these include the construction of the Hybrid Off River Augmentation System (Horas) that can supply up to 600 million litres of water per day‎.

He said the water retention ponds in Bestari Jaya also enables water to be pumped into rivers in Selangor when necessary.

On another matter, Azmin said a total of 1,000 new and sturdier rubbish bins would be provided at all low cost flats around Selangor, especially dengue hotspots, for better waste disposal to curb the dengue menace.

''The old and damaged bins caused rubbish to overflow and clogged the drains nearby, and they eventually become breeding grounds for the Aedes mosquitoes," he added.

More cloud-seeding exercises in Selangor on the cards: Azmin
DAWN CHAN New Straits Times 24 Apr 16;

SHAH ALAM: The Selangor state government has decided to conduct additional cloud seeding exercises to boost the level of water at its dams in view of the hot and dry spell which may prolong until September.

Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali said currently cloud seeding exercises are carried out twice a day; once in the early morning and in the afternoon.

"We are concerned about our reservoirs (the level of water) and we have decided to increase the number of flights for cloud seeding if there is a need. We need more rain to ensure that there is more supply of water in our reservoirs.

"We have already spent RM5 million on cloud seeding exercises since last year until now which has contributed to some degree of success (in boosting water level). We are willing to spend more in case the dry season continues until September. These exercises will continue.

"The level of dams as well as rivers are monitored on an hourly basis every day. I also chair regular meetings to discuss water related issues and it has been brought up in the state economic action council meetings," said Azmin.

In a meeting last week, Azmin said several dams were reported to be at a low level and the state government had taken proactive measures to ensure continuous supply of water with the completion of the Hybrid Off River Augmentation System (HORAS 600) that can supply up to 600 million litres of water daily as well as water retention ponds in Bestari Jaya that would be pumped into rivers in the state.

Azmin said this when met during an anti-dengue campaign organised by the Shah Alam City Council in Section 28 today.

Section 28 was identified as one of the dengue hotspots and the problem was attributed to the absence of rubbish bins at the chutes of each block which had resulted in poor rubbish disposal.

Azmin had during the walkabout at the flats instructed Hebat Abadi Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Berhad, to provide 1,000 rubbish bins costing a total of RM 1 million to low cost flats in the state that are dengue hotspots.

Azmin asked that residents cooperate and play a positive role with the authorities so that dengue cases can be lowered.

Meanwhile, Azmin called on Selangor folk to take advantage of the iDengue application that can be downloaded on smart phones where the latest information such as dengue hotspots, statistics as well as other related information are available and updated by the Health Ministry.

Dwindling water levels may force Perak to declare Bukit Merah a disaster zone
BERNAMA New Straits Times 24 Apr 16;

IPOH: The Perak Government may request the Federal Government to declare Bukit Merah, about 90km from here, a disaster zone as the Tasik Bukit Merah Dam water level dwindles due to hot and dry weather caused by El Nino.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir said if the Bukit Merah area was declared disaster zone, the National Security Council (NSC) could help the affected farmers, especially around Kerian to assess the losses.

“In case (a state of emergency) is declared, it does not mean that the area is closed but the government will make an assessment in terms of losses and so on, especially for affected farmers,” he told reporters after attending the state-level 2016 Vaisakhi Open House celebrations here today.

Zambry urged the relevant authorities, including the agriculture and agro-based industry ministry to view the situation in the area as critical since it involved an area of 5,000 hectares of paddy crop.

“It is not just about the lake area but also involves the farmers in the area, which will certainly affect the granary in Perak and the country,” he said.

However, Zambry said the department would continue to monitor the situation in Bukit Merah, including the distribution of rainfall from time to time.

"I have asked State Secretary, Datuk Seri Abdul Puhat Mat Nayan to take the next step for the declaration if the situation gets critical," he said.

Meanwhile, Perak Public Utilities, Infrastructure, Energy and Water Committee chairman, Datuk Zainol Fadzi Paharudin said the water level at the Tasik Bukit Merah Dam this morning rose 0.003 metre (0.01 feet) to 6,096 metres (20 feet) as compared to 6,065 metres (19.9 feet) recorded on Saturday.

When contacted by Bernama yesterday, he said the rise in water level was due to rain in the catchment area yesterday and hoped the rain would continue.

Industries in Malaysia fear nation’s worst water crisis
Today Online 25 Apr 16;

PETALING JAYA — Industries in Malaysia are warning the hot spell, expected to last until September, will impact the nation’s economy.

They say productivity levels will fall as certain sectors will be hit if water rationing kicks in due to low water supply.

Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Shamsuddin Bardan said it could be costly for businesses if water supply was disrupted.

“Many industries need constant supply of clean and treated water. Past instances have proven operation costs increased when companies were forced to source their own water supply,” he said.

Mr Shamsuddin highlighted the 1998 water crisis in the Klang Valley when industries were affected following the government’s decision to introduce water rationing for 150 days.

Faced with high demand and spiralling operating costs, Mr Shamsuddin said many companies faced a tough time.

“Productivity slumped across the board at the time due to factors beyond their control.”

Mr Shamsuddin said many were now bracing for a similar situation as another crisis looms due to depleting water reserves at dams.

“I hope the authorities will manage the situation more efficiently than they did in 1998,” he said.

Cameron Highlands Vegetable Growers’ Association secretary Chay Ee Mong said there had been a 20 per cent decline in output.

“If this continues until September, our output could fall between 40 and 50 per cent,” he said.

Mr Chay said the hot weather had yet to affect the health of vegetable farm workers.

“For now, Cameron Highlands is still relatively cool at night,” he said.

Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia Penang branch chairman Jerry Chan Fook Sing said the construction industry was also affected by the crisis.

“Our operation costs rose during that time (in 1998) but our work was not disrupted, unlike other industries such as electronics and soft drink manufacturers. Even hawkers were impacted as they relied heavily on water,” he said.

Asked if businesses and industries were better prepared to face another water rationing period, Mr Chan said he did not think so.

“Particularly in Penang, we have taken things for granted because of the minimal disruption, good water quality and constant supply over the years. This has lulled most people into a false sense of security,” he said.

Klang MP Charles Santiago said Malaysia was at risk of falling into a state of emergency if steps were not taken to address the situation quickly.

“The heat and lack of water will affect the productivity of workers, resulting in a decline of output,” he said.

“The state and federal government must start a plan to conserve water. If not, we will be setting ourselves to face an awful disaster,” he said.

He said there should be stricter usage of water during this period to stop consumers from using water unnecessarily.

“We should not wait until water levels at dams reach 30 per cent before thinking of a conservation plan.”

Mr Santiago said if the heatwave continued over the next five months, Malaysia could face its worst water crisis. THE MALAY MAIL ONLINE

Days are much cooler now
The Star 15 Apr 16;

PETALING JAYA: Frequent rains in the past few days are signs that the effects of El Nino, which is responsible for the protracted dry spell, especially in the northern region of the peninsula, may finally be abating.

Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) director-general Datuk Che Gayah Ismail said El Nino was weakening and the rain was also doing its part in lowering the temperature.

“We are now in the inter-monsoon season where afternoon rains and thunderstorms are the norm,” she said, adding that the season was expected to last until May.

“Things are expected to be back to normal by June.”

A MetMalaysia officer had recently said that the inter-monsoon season had set in early this month, with east coast states beginning to experience heavy rainfall.

The impact of El Nino on the temperature in the country is also expected to reduce when the strength of the El Nino winds down while the increase in the frequency of rain during the inter-monsoon season reaches its height at the end of April or early May.

The public was told to expect more frequent rain with thunderstorms during the afternoon and evening, especially in the west coast states as well as west Sabah and Sa­­ra­wak as the inter-monsoon progress­ed.

During the months of the inter-monsoon season, mornings will typically be fair with blue skies and strong convective clouds could develop in late mornings, followed by afternoon rains.

According to weather forecasts by the department, folks in Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya and Putrajaya can expect thunderstorms in the afternoon in the coming week.

In George Town, an hour-long downpour brought much relief to Penangites who had been enduring a dry spell in the past months.

Exactly a week ago, it had rained in almost every corner of the state and yesterday, Penangites in several parts of the state also enjoyed a cool and breezy respite.

“It’s really nice to get wet for once after travelling every day under the hot sun,” said driver A. Salim, who was riding a motorcycle without a raincoat.

“For once, getting drenched was fun,” he added after stopping near a coffee shop to dry himself.

Saleswoman R. Keerthi, who was walking along Jalan Datuk Keramat to her workplace, said this was the first time after a long while that she had to use an umbrella on a rainy day.

“The scorching heat was unbearable. I would sweat by the time I reached the office, which is just 500m away from my house,” she said.

A MetMalaysia spokesman said heavy rain was recorded in Balik Pulau in the morning and also in Paya Terubong while there was intermittent rain in some parts of the island.

Isolated rain was also reported in Sungai Bakap, Bukit Mertajam and Butterworth on the Penang mainland.

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