Malaysia: Water-rationing only a stop-gap measure, says don

JOASH EE DE SILVA The Star 1 May 16;

PETALING JAYA: Water rationing can only be a stop-gap measure for the current water crisis brought about by the depleting reserve at the Bukit Merah dam.

But it is not viable in the long run, said Dr Zaki Zainudin, associate professor in water quality and modelling at the Inter­national Islamic University Malaysia.

“For me, rationing is only a stop-gap measure, it is not sustainable,” he commented on the call by the National Water Services Commis­sion (SPAN) urging the Perak government to consider stricter rationing to allow water to be available for up to 60 days, instead of the current 30 days.

The Perak Water Committee, however, responded that rationing would be conducted only if the water level dropped to 5.18m from the current 6.21m.

Dr Zaki said that during rationing, people tended to overcompensate and store more water as backup and that it may not be a very effective measure.

He said that in the short term, the state may have to look at intercity water deployment and acquire water from other states.

With a smaller population, the water demand is not as critical in Perak so intercity water deployment can help in the short term.

“But in the long run, at the federal level, there is a need to look at more sustainable measures for water catchment areas, water resource management and better control in pollution and river basin management,” he said.

Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia (Awer) president S. Piarapakaran said the Perak government could reduce water pressure at night as usage was low then.

“But in doing so, they must ensure no contamination can enter the treated water supply system because of the low pressure.

“SPAN can identify premises, industries and commercial use in non-critical sectors and control water use, as it is allowed under Section 54 of the Water Services Industry Act 2006.

However, Piarapakaran said that as water crisis issues will be a recurring problem for many years to come, the Government must look into colour-coded alert systems to manage the crises.

He suggested a three-colour system of yellow, orange and red be used to signal what measures needed to be taken.

“For example, yellow is mild where water to non-critical sectors must be reduced, while orange is when water levels are dropping close to critical level, and red where an emergency is declared under Section 56 and there are more stringent rules and regulations.”

He added that there should be long-term planning of catchment areas, where dams are built and further expanded in stages over 15 to 25 years to meet increasing water requirements.


Contingency plan in place to manage Perlis water crisis: MB
BERNAMA New Straits Times 30 Apr 16;

ARAU: The state government of Perlis has drawn up a contingency plan to properly manage the water crisis and distribution of treated water supply to areas affected by water rationing in the northern part of the state.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azlan Man said the plan prepared by the state government was a guide and reference for all agencies and affected areas in the state, with the water crisis expected to prolong until September.

“To ensure the plan is implemented smoothly, I have submitted it to all the relevant government departments, agencies and organisations,” he said when opening the Pauh state constituency’s Community Day-cum-Arau 1Malaysia People’s Housing Project Internet Centre Open Day, here, today.

esides the state government, the other organisations which received the plan were the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry, National Water Services Commission, Syarikat Air Perlis, National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA), and state Drainage and Irrigation Department and Public Works Department.

Nonetheless, Azlan said, all parties were hoping for the water level at Timah Tasoh Dam to rise further with rain in the last few days.

“Despite rain in the last two days, water flowing into the dam will take time as the hot weather has resulted in a high rate of vapourisation, causing the water level at the dam to continue falling.

“We hope this (water crisis) will not drag on and the water level at the dam will return to normal soon at 29.1 metres,” he said.

Meanwhile, Perlis Drainage and Irrigation Department director, Abdul Najib Abdullah said the water level at the dam was still critical at 26.14 metres today, down 0.01 metre from 26.15 metres yesterday.

Perlis Meteorological Department director Muhammad Khalil Ab Jalil said the temperature in the state as at 4 pm recorded a fall to 33.5°C compared to 36°C yesterday.

“The temperature recorded in the last few days was expected to return to normal by June as the El Nino impact on the state was expected to gradually weaken when the inter-monsoon period peaked in May.

“During this period, there will rain and thunderstorms, especially in the evening, throughout the state,” he said. -- BERNAMA


PAIP helping drought-hit Chini residents
The Star 1 May 16;

KUANTAN: Pengurusan Air Pahang Bhd (PAIP) has provided 43 static tanks to supply water to residents of Chini, who are badly hit by drought caused by El Nino.

PAIP said in a statement that 4,500 account holders were affected by the disruption of supply from the Chini water treatment plant.

Until yesterday, 16 tanker lorries had sent water to the Chini 3, 4 and 5 highland areas, it said.

Pahang director of health Datuk Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar said spring water near the Felda Chini Training Centre was unsafe for drinking and cooking because it contained coliform and e-coli bacteria.

It could only be used for washing and bathing.

PAIP said 81 static tanks, seven tanker lorries and seven filling stations have been supplying water to the people of Lipis, since a supply problem at the Air Jelai treatment plant.

Also, two tanker lorries and 29 static tanks were providing water to 360 account holders in Mentakab, Lanchang and Temerloh.

Supply from the Lubuk Kawah plant in Temerloh has been disrupted by drought, PAIP said. — Bernama


Padi farmers in Kerian suffer RM56 million in losses due to El Nino
RAJA KHALIDATUL ASRIN New Straits Times 30 Apr 16;

BAGAN SERAI: Padi farmers in the Kerian district are suffering losses totalling RM56 million due to the heat wave.

Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman said 8,097 hectares of 21,108has padi fields in the distict were affected by the El Nino, involving 3,175 farmers.

"Although the government has not declared it as a disaster area, we will continue to help them.

"We have no specific fund for such a problem but we will find ways to help ease their burden," he said after visiting the affected farmers at Kampung Dew here today.

Present were Agriculture Department director-general Datuk Ahmad Zakaria Mohamad Sidek, Kerian Intergrated Agriculture Development Area director Zahimi Hassan and Bagan Serai member of parliament Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali.

Kerian has more than 8,000 farmers and they been produce 36,000 metric tonnes of padi every harvest.

Tajuddin said the water level at Bukit Merah dam was still within the stage three critical level and the authorities would have to wait until May 15 before they could decide whether the water could be released to the padi fields.

He said the government would use the RM4 million allocation for farmers affected by the El Nino, to help padi growers in Kerian district.

Apart from digging tube wells, he said more water pumps would be sent to the affected area in Kerian district to help irrigate the drying padi fields.

"Kerian district, which is one of the main padi producers, is facing a massive problem when 4,600 hectares of padi fields are yet to be planted with seedlings due to lack of water," he said.

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