Malaysia: Water reserves at two major Johor dams dip to critical levels

New Straits Times 27 Feb 19;

KOTA TINGGI: The water level at the Sungai Lebam Dam, near here, has dropped to almost two metres below the critical point.

The dam normally enjoys an effective capacity of 14m – but the water level currently stands at just 10.9m, much lower than the 12.7m critical point, Bernama reported.

As such, residents in and around Kota Tinggi have been urged to use water sparingly until the current dry spell ends.

“The dam currently has enough water to supply residents for about 70 days.

“(The Johor government hopes there will be no problems) as there are about 100,000 residents in (Kota Tinggi, including) areas like Pengerang, Teluk Ramunia, Air Tawar and Tanjung Balau,” said Johor International Trade, Investment and Utilities Committee chairman Jimmy Puah Wee Tse.

He added that the water level at another major dam in the area – the Lok Heng Dam – has dipped to just 50cm above its critical level.

“The water supply can only last 21 days.

“If the water level continues to decline, it will affect about 20,000 residents. But, we have a backup plan – (we) will dig three tube wells in the area near the dam,” Puah added.

Dry spell and water woes
remar nordin The Star 23 Feb 19;

JOHOR BARU: The state government is working closely with Ranhill SAJ Sdn Bhd (Ranhill SAJ) and Johor Water Regulatory Body (Bakaj) to monitor the water supply situation here in view of the current hot spell.

State International Trade, Investment and Utilities Committee chairman Jimmy Puah Wee Tse said the government will ensure enough water supply throughout the long dry spell despite falling levels at four dams.

“We have put measures in place to prevent water disruptions in the state.

“The dams affected by the hot weather are namely Sungai Lebam, Sungai Layang (Upper), Sembrong Barat, and Lok Heng water treatment plant,” he said in a statement.

Puah said Sungai Lebam water level was at 11.2m (critical level - 9.6m), Layang (Upper) at 22m (critical level - 19m), Sembrong Barat at 8.5m (critical level - 7.3m) and Lok Heng area at 2.2m (critical level 1.5m).

He said Sungai Lebam was the source of water for Penawar and Sungai Rengit areas, while Layang (Upper) channeled water to Pasir Gudang and Johor Baru.

Puah said Sembrong Barat supplied water to Kluang and parts of Ayer Hitam, and Lok Heng area supplied to Felda Lok Heng, Felda Wa Ha and Felda Bukit Easter.

“One of the solutions we plan to take is to transfer water from Seluyut River to Layang (Upper) dam if necessary.

“The construction of three tube wells at Lok Heng will also help supply 0.9ml of underground water as a back-up for the Lok Heng area,” he added.

Puah urged the public to be more prudent in their usage of water during this dry season.

All set to face hot and dry spell
The Star 26 Feb 19;

KUALA TERENGGANU: The impact of climate change, such as extreme, severe drought, heavy rain and hotter temperatures, have been felt almost throughout the country.

In Terengganu, although such impact had yet to be fully felt statewide, efforts have been taken by various authorities to ensure the adverse situation would not affect the lives of its people, plants and animals.

The state’s main water supply provider, Syarikat Air Terengganu Sdn Bhd (Satu), is carrying out continuous monitoring on water sources in each district even though no incident of water supply shortage was reported so far.

Its CEO, Atemin Sulong, said if the situation turned critical, Satu would work closely with Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) to release water from the Kenyir Dam in Hulu Terengganu to increase the water level at its water catchment areas.

“Should there be water disruptions, we are prepared to send our water tanker lorries to the affected areas, besides increasing the amount of water released from the Kenyir Dam,” he said.

He said another measure would be carrying out water rationing during non-peak hours, starting from midnight to 5am, as there would be less water consumption during that period.

He also advised consumers to use water prudently and avoid wasting it during the dry spell.

Meanwhile, Terengganu Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) fire station operation management division chief Mohd Mazimi Mohamad said cooperation from the public in avoiding open burning activities was very much needed during this hot and dry season.

He said it was feared that if the activities were done, the fire could not be controlled and would spread quickly.

“Periodical monitoring at forest fire prone areas are also being carried out by the relevant fire stations as part of our preventive measures.

“Among the areas are in Bidong Valley in Setiu, Kampung Tok Kah and Kampung Batu 7 in Dungun, Kampung Lubuk Kawah and Kampung Lubuk Cabang in Kerteh, Santong in Paka and Kampung Tembila in Besut,” he said.

To ensure that the firefighters would have sufficient water supply during fire operations, he said they would collaborate with the Drainage and Irrigation Department to expand water canal system and build tube wells in the fire prone areas.

Agropreneur Mohd Hafizuddin Mohd Zaky, 29, who operates a watermelon farm, said he was installing underground water pipes to prepare for the dry spell.

He said this was a lesson learnt after most of his crop were destroyed due to water shortage during the dry season last year.

“This time around, I’m prepared and using larger water pipes,” he said. — Bernama

Temperature soars to 36°C
razak ahmad The Star 26 Feb 19;

PETALING JAYA: Temperatures continued to soar throughout the country as the number of areas on heatwave alert doubled to 10 compared with two weeks ago.

The dry weather has also led to water supply concerns in some states, including Perak and Kelantan, while the Education Ministry has advised schools to monitor outdoor activities and ensure students drink enough water, in light of the current heatwave, which is set to last until April.

The hottest spots yesterday were Chuping (Perlis); Kubang Pasu, Kota Setar and Sik (Kedah), which all hit a high of 36°C.

The four areas, along with Kepong (Kuala Lumpur); Hulu Perak, Kuala Kangsar and Kinta (Perak); Maran (Pahang); and Tangkak (Johor) were placed on Category 1 or heatwave alert, accor­ding to data from the Malaysian Meteorological Depart­ment (Met­Ma­l­aysia) website.

According to MetMalaysia, the current hot weather in the west coast states of the peninsula and Sabah is expected to continue until the end of next month.

The hot weather is a normal phenomenon, which begins at the tail end of the north-east monsoon.

The monsoon started in Novem­ber and ends in April, and is followed by the intermonsoon period, which usually brings more thunderstorms in the west coast and interior of the peninsula, east coast of Sabah and central Sarawak.

Data from the Selangor Water Management Authority website ( showed that the water level in Sungai Selangor dam, which supplies 70% of the treated water in the Klang Valley, was still very high at 98% yesterday.

However, in Perak, state Public Amenities and Infrastructure Committee chairman Abdul Yunus Jamhari has requested padi farmers in Kerian, which is the main padi-farming district in the state, to control their water use due to the current hot and dry weather.

“If we waste water in our padi fields in the current hot weather, it could affect our crops,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama.

Separately, the ministry has urged schools to take precautionary measures due to the heatwave.

In a statement, it said schools must monitor outdoor activities and to postpone them if it is too hot.

The statement also asked schools to ensure adequate supply of clean drinking water and for teachers to encourage students to drink lots of water.

A heatwave is declared when an area hits Category 2, which is when temperatures rise above 37°C for three consecutive days.

When this happens, the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry is empowered to officially declare a heatwave in that location.

This is to enable the relevant authorities to take follow-up action, such as closing schools.

When an area hits Category 3 (temperature above 40°C three days in a row, which is considered the emergency level), the National Disaster Management Agency will be notified and the Prime Minister can declare an emergency.

Dry spell affects water levels at Johor's major dams amid heatwave in Malaysia
Channel NewsAsia 26 Feb 19;

JOHOR BAHRU: Water levels at two major dams in Johor state are hovering around the critical point, as parts of Malaysia experience a heatwave.

On Tuesday (Feb 26), residents around Kota Tinggi, Johor were advised to use water sparingly as the water level at the nearby Sungai Lebam Dam dipped almost two metres below the critical level.

Johor International Trade, Investment and Utilities Committee chairman Jimmy Puah Wee Tse said the normal water-level for the dam was 14m, while the critical level is 12.7m. The current reading is 10.9m.

"The current hot and dry spell is a cause of concern to the Johor government. We do not want any water supply problems here (in Kota Tinggi) as there are about 100,000 residents in areas like Pengerang, Teluk Ramunia, Air Tawar and Tanjung Balau,” he said, adding there was sufficient water supply in the dam for about 70 days.

Additionally, Mr Puah said Lok Heng Dam in the area was showing a water reserve-level of two metres. This is just 50cm above the critical level.

"The supply can only last for 21 days and if it continues to decline, it will affect about 20,000 residents,” he said. The state government is digging three tube wells in the area near the dam as a back-up plan, he added.


Malaysia is currently at the tail end of the North-East Monsoon, which is expected to last until end of March. During this period, there would be no rain or very little rainfall, according to the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia).

On Tuesday, MetMalaysia maintained Level 1 heatwave alerts for eight areas in peninsula Malaysia, mainly in the northern states of Perlis, Kedah and Perak.

This was a drop from the weekend, when Level 1 alerts were issued for 10 areas.

The alerts were issued after maximum temperatures of between 35 and 37 degrees Celsius for three consecutive days.

A Level 2 alert will be issued when the maximum temperature exceeds 37 degrees Celsius for three consecutive days.

A Level 3 alert will be declared when temperature exceeds 40 degree Celsius for three consecutive days. This would allow the federal government to declare a state of emergency.

Meanwhile, it was reported on Wednesday that Sabah has only two months of water supply remaining.

State Water Department director Amarjit Singh told the New Straits Times that while water reserves at major dams are at 80 per cent, the supplies are not being replenished due to the depleted rivers.

In Kelantan, the authorities advised the public to avoid open burning during the hot and dry period.

This will prevent the fire from getting out of control and causing air pollution, Fire and Rescue Department Director Nazili Mahmood was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times.

Over in Terengganu, the Education Department has instructed all 503 schools in the state to take proactive measures due to the current dry spell.

Mr Shafruddin Ali Hussin, the director of the department said for track and field events, adequate drinking water, water barrels and sponges should be provided. Emergency relief teams should also be on standby, he said.

“Most importantly, every student participating in track and field events must obtain permission from their parents and guardians.

“Schools are also encouraged to increase indoor activities and reduce outdoor programmes,” he added on Tuesday.

Source: CNA/aw(mn)