Malaysia: Counter measures to take effect if dry weather persists

intan amalina mohd ali The Star 8 Mar 19;

GEORGE TOWN: Dry weather control measures will be initiated if the hot weather persists over the next two months, said Penang Water Supply Corporation Sdn Bhd (PBAPP) chief executive officer Datuk Jaseni Maidinsa.

He said the measures include initiating an emergency drawdown of raw water from the Mengkuang Dam, requesting Kedah to release more water into Sungai Muda and appealing for cloud seeding from the federal government as well as seeking a delay in the padi planting season so that more raw water can be used for water supply purposes.

“Among the actions taken to ensure no water rationing are the daily monitoring on Penang dams, Sungai Muda and the Kedah dams that release water into Sungai Muda, minimising raw water drawdowns from the Ayer Itam Dam and pumping water from other sources to meet water demand in the Ayer Itam and Paya Terubong areas,” he said.

He added that the Ayer Itam Dam’s raw water storage is projected to last another 59 days from Wednesday.

“The supply area of the Air Itam Dam covers the township of Ayer Itam and Paya Terubong, as well as the surrounding areas along Jalan Ayer Itam up to Jalan Masjid Negeri,” he said yesterday.

Jaseni said the level of Sungai Muda, Penang’s main raw water resource, has also dropped significantly from 2.35m on Jan 1 to 1.55m on Wednesday.

“Without Kedah’s strategic raw water releases from the Muda Dam, the level of Sungai Muda would have fallen below the critical level of 1.5m.

“More than 80% of Penang’s raw water is sourced from Sungai Muda daily. The status of the river level affects water supply to all water consumers in Seberang Prai. It also affects water supply to a significant number of water consumers on the island, especially domestic and trade consumers in the southwest district and Balik Pulau,” he said.

Jaseni urged consumers to use water wisely to ensure that Penang has enough water until the rains arrive to refill the dams and raise the Sungai Muda level.

Cloud seeding on the horizon
The Star 8 Mar 19;

THE Penang government is mulling cloud seeding as a remedy for the hot weather, said Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

He said he would leave it to Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) which is monitoring the situation.

“If necessary, cloud seeding will be done as the most important issue is that water supply to consumers and businesses should not be affected,” said Chow at a press conference at Komtar on Wesnesday.

On where cloud seeding would be carried out, Chow said he would leave it to PBAPP to work out the details.

Meanwhile, Penang Water Supply Corporation Sdn Bhd (PBAPP) chief executive officer Datuk Jaseni Maidinsa said the Ayer Itam Dam’s capacity had dropped to 61% from 66.7% recorded on Feb 19.

He said the Teluk Bahang Dam’s capacity was 75.6%.

“There were no rains over the last two weeks.

“We would like to advise Penang consumers to use water wisely,” he said.

Perlis Health Department has advised the public, especially those with sickness and allergic to heat, to avoid being exposed to hot weather for fear of suffering from heatstroke.

Its director Dr Sirajuddin Hashim said those working under the hot sun should get more rest, wear thin clothing and hats or caps as well as drink more water to prevent dehydration.

“Those suffering from lung infection, seizures, fever and asthma must be more sensitive and limit their outdoor activities.

“They must seek immediate treatment if their condition worsen,” he told Bernama on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Perlis Meteorological Department director Mohd Saharudi Saad, when contacted, said the Chuping Meteorological Station recorded the highest reading of 36.8 degree Celsius on Feb 8 and Feb 22.

He said the temperature on Tuesday was 36.2 degree Celsius.

In Penang, Lee Yeng Yeng, 54, who runs a traditional Chinese medical shop, said there would be an influx of customers looking for cooling drinks and medication during hot weather.

“Drinks like chrysanthemum tea, rose tea and herbal tea are popular because they are cooling and help detox the body. It cools down your system.

“I also tell my customers who have just returned indoor not to immediately switch on the air-conditioning as this tends to make you susceptible to falling ill,” she said when met at her shop along Kimberly Street.

Penang Chowrasta Bazaar Traders Association chairman Mohamed Nasir Mohideen said with the hot weather, some of the fishes are difficult to catch as they tend to swim deeper.

He said some fishermen would also find the weather unbearable to go to sea.

“When the weather is extremely hot, the price of fishes does go up by 10% to 20%,” he said.

Fishmonger Shahjahan Hassan, 58, said the prices of fish were “average” after the festive season hike.

“The prices of fish have come down but with the heat, some types of fish are difficult to find.

“There are lesser fish, but the pricing remains ‘average’,” he said.

Water tankers to be deployed to aid Chini residents
T.N. Alagesh New Straits Times 8 Mar 19;

KUANTAN: Water tanker lorries will be deployed to areas affected by the ongoing water supply disruption brought about by the prolonged drought.

State Basic Amenities, Public Delivery System and Innovations Committee chairman Datuk Seri Norol Azali Sulaiman said the hot spell had resulted in Sungai Mentiga’s water level to drop, and caused water supply disruption for residents in Felda Chini in Pekan.

“The water shortage is caused by the hot weather and I will ensure Pahang Water Management Bhd (Paip) will do the necessary to look into the matter, including providing static water tanks and water tankers,” he told the New Straits Times.

Yesterday, Felda Chini settlers claimed that water problems since early this month had forced many of them to look for alternative sources of water.

Settlers and eatery outlet operators claimed that their taps only flowed at night and the murky water could not be used for daily chores.

Meanwhile Paip public relations and corporate communications officer Nurul Farhana Abdul Hamid said 6,561 account holders in Pekan were experiencing water disruption due to the prolonged hot and dry weather.

“The drying up of Sungai Mentiga due to the phenomenon has caused low water pressure at the Chini plant. Eight water tankers and 48 static water tanks have been deployed by Paip to help residents,” she said.

Sik, Chuping to face extreme hot weather
Some areas in the north of the peninsula, especially in Sik, Kedah and Chuping, Perlis are predicted to experience high temperatures of up to 38 degrees Celsius at the end of this month or early April. Pic courtesy of MetMalaysia Facebook
Bernama New Straits Times 9 Mar 19;

KUALA LUMPUR: Some areas in the north of the peninsula, especially in Sik, Kedah and Chuping, Perlis are predicted to experience high temperatures of up to 38 degrees Celsius at the end of this month or early April.

Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) National Weather and Geophysics Operations Centre director Dr Mohd Hisham Mohd Anip said temperatures are expected to peak following the phase of the northeast monsoon.

“Now the temperatures will feel hotter. When the temperature peaks around the end of March or beginning of April, we expect temperatures in some areas will reach up to 38 degrees Celsius.

“When the heatwave reaches its peak, temperatures in one or two areas may be in the second stage, namely the maximum temperature can exceed 37 to 40 degrees Celsius for at least three consecutive days and this hot spots are common in Sik and Chuping,” he said. when contacted by Bernama on Friday.

Mohd Hisham said that based on the status of the current heat wave, eight areas in the northern states, respectively in Chuping, Perlis; Kota Setar, Pendang, Sik and Kulim in Kedah and Hulu Perak, Kuala Kangsar and Kinta in Perak are on heatwave alert, with maximum daily temperatures reaching 35 to 37 degrees Celsius.

“Last month, only three areas, namely Chuping, Sik and Kota Setar, were on heatwave alert but yesterday the number of areas on alert increased to eight areas,” he said.

However, Mohd Hisham said peak temperatures was not expected to last and the temperature would return to normal during the monsoon transition phase in April or early May when rainfall would be about 200 to 300 millimetres (mm) per month compared to the current 50 mm per month.

Commenting on the occurrence of haze, Mohd Hisham said the current hot weather did not bring significant haze to the country as the haze usually occurs during the southwest monsoon when the wind blows from the direction of Sumatra or Kalimantan towards our country. This usually occurs between August and October.

“Right now, the wind is blowing from the South China Sea and the impact of the haze is not significant. In the event of a haze, it is just a local haze caused by environmental activities such as a small fire and it is not cross-border haze,” he said.

Based on the Department of Environment portal, up to 5 pm, 56 stations recorded moderate Air Pollutant Index (API) readings of 51 to 100, while another 10 stations recorded a good API reading of below 50. -- BERNAMA

Sungai Tembeling drying up in heatwave
T.N. Alagesh New Straits Times 8 Mar 19;

KUANTAN: The prolonged hot weather has resulted in the water level of Sungai Tembeling in Jerantut to drop significantly. Certain sections of the river have dried up completely.

The famous floating restaurants or raft houses along the river in Kuala Tahan are now stranded in the shallow riverbed.

Boat services are also affected, with journeys up and down the river taking a lot longer to complete as boatmen have to navigate slowly.

Videos and images of the dried sections of the river have gone viral on social media, with many claiming that it was nothing new to the villagers as it occurred during the hot spell every year.

Tour guide Zamri Mat Amin said the water level in Sungai Tembeling usually fell during the hot season and this would last up to a few weeks.

“Usually certain parts of Kuala Tahan will be flooded during the monsoon season and last year there were no floods. “However, the blistering sun and extreme hot weather this time was a little different compared to previously... it is the worst. I have never seen the river in such a situation before.

“People can cross certain sections of the river on foot as the water level is extremely low,” he said.

Zamri said the extreme heat had also led to a decline in the number of visitors to Kuala Tahan and Taman Negara.

Boat operator Jamil Ahmad said most parts of the river used to be more than 3m deep, but now, some parts were only ankle-deep and many sandbanks could be seen.

The 40-year-old said boatmen were forced to frequently get off their boats and pull them through the shallow water.

“The heat wave makes our job difficult and we pity passengers who have to sit for long hours in our boats. The river water drying up rapidly is a major concern. We might be forced to stop our boat services,” he said.

Tahan assemblyman Mohd Zakhwan Ahmad Badarrdin said the hot weather which had lasted for more than two weeks had resulted in the water level dropping.

“I noticed that this year the river water is drying up fast... this did not happen in the past. Most sections of the river have dried up, exposing sandbars in the river,” he said, adding however that there were no reports of water disruption in nearby areas.

Certain sections of Sungai Tembeling at Kampung Bukit Mat Daling, Kampung Kuala Sat, Kampung Bantal and Kampung Gusai have become shallow and dry.

However, since there is a new road connecting Kampung Bantal and Ulu Tembeling, the residents can choose to travel on four-wheel-drive vehicles.

During the floods in 2015, Taman Negara was closed temporarily after the water level of Sungai Tembeling rose to a record level of 75m.