Malaysia: Further drop at two Johor dams


JOHOR BARU: Two dams in Johor have dropped further below their critical levels as the hot spell continues in the southern peninsula.

SAJ Holdings Sdn Bhd corporate communications head Jamaluddin Jamil said the levels at the Sungai Lebam dam in Pengerang and the Sungai Layang dam in Pasir Gudang went down again in the past few days.

Water level at the Sungai Lebam dam was at 9.52m yesterday, which was a 0.02m drop from the previous day, and 3.18m below its critical mark of 12.7m. It supplies to 75,000 consumers.

He said the level at the Sungai Layang dam, which supplies water to some 580,000 consumers in Pasir Gudang, Masai and some parts here, dropped further from its critical mark of 23.5m.

The dam recorded 19.05m yesterday, a 0.01m decrease from Saturday.

“Scheduled water supply in affected areas continues, which means consumers affected by the Sungai Layang dam will have water supply for 24 hours before taps go dry for the next 48 hours,” he said.

Consumers using water supplied from Sungai Lebam get regular water supply for 24 hours and are advised to store water before supply ceases for the next 24 hours.

Rationing by SAJ Holdings started on Aug 16 and is scheduled to last until Sept 15.

“But we will review from time to time whether to resume regular supply or to extend the scheduled supply,” Jamaluddin said, adding that it depended on the weather.

However, a solution may be in sight for the over half a million users.

SAJ Holdings and the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) had been recommended to replenish Sungai Layang dam by pumping water from the nearby Sungai Johor, which was just about 10km away.

DID Water Resources Management and Hydrology director Datuk Hanapi Mohamad Noor said the plan needed to be executed fast.

He pointed out that Sungai Johor had ample water and the plan was more feasible than cloud seeding.

The measure had been used successfully during the Malacca water crisis in the early 1990s. Water from Sungai Grisik, Muar, was pumped 70km to replenish the Durian Tunggal dam.

“Based on the Malacca experience, we estimate that it will take five months to fill up the Sungai Layang dam using pumps,” he said.

Hanapi said DID was not recommending cloud seeding as the measure depended on clouds and the right wind direction.

“There is no guarantee the rain will fall at the dam water catchment area,” he added.

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