Malaysia: Penang dams take a critical dip

r. sekaran and n. trisha The Star 23 Mar 19;

GEORGE TOWN: With the current dry spell, the dams in the state have dipped to critical levels.

The Ayer Itam Dam capacity has fallen to 49.1% compared to 60.4% on March 8, while at the Teluk Bahang Dam, it has dipped to 70.7% from 75.6% during the same period.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow is expected to visit the Ayer Itam Dam tomorrow to attend a briefing on the water levels.

Chow had earlier said that the state was considering cloud seeding if the drought continued, adding that any decision would, however, be made by the Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP).

Over in Perak, however, things are better, with the water level in several main dams in the state being at a normal level even though the country is experiencing hot weather .

State Public Utilities, Infrastructure, Agriculture and Plantation Committee chairman Abdul Yunus Jamhari said the Sultan Azlan Shah Dam was at 85% capacity with 241.21m of water.

“Meanwhile, the Air Kuning Dam is at 42.50m, with the maximum capacity of 42.52m,” Bernama reported him as saying after he represented Mentri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu at the launch of the Perak-level World Water Day 2019 in Ipoh yesterday.

Abdul Yunus said operations of water supply under the Perak Water Board (LAP) was normal and water production was at normal level.

However, he said, although there is adequate water supply, consumers are reminded to use water prudently and prevent wastage.

Earlier, in his speech, Abdul Yunus said according to a report by the Department of Irrigation and Drainage, Perak received 2,900 milimetres of rainfall a year, with a total quantity of three times the global average.

“With this, Perak can be categorised as a state rich in water resources to meet all domestic, agriculture, industry and environment needs, with the network of clean water supply covering 100% of urban areas and 99.2% of rural areas.

“The state government has provided 25 cubic metres of free water with a total of 25,000 litres of clean water to target groups, beginning last August,” he said.

Meanwhile, National Water Services Commission (SPAN) chairman Charles Santiago in a statement for World Water Day said Malaysia was currently facing the issue of water shortage due to the prolonged dry season in various parts of the country.

“Thousands of families are facing water disruptions and have to resort to taking water from water tanker.

“If we do not start to save water it will become a norm to have disruptions as the weather patterns are changing all around the world resulting in more dry bouts like this.

“The Sungai Kim Kim toxic waste dumping incident and the waste dumping in Sungai Klang have caused adverse effects on the public health wise.

“We will also have to bear heavy costs to clean the rivers.

“This should be a lesson to all of us,” he said.

Charles said in conjunction with World Water Day he would like to urge Malaysians to bear the responsibility of conserving water with SPAN.

“Use water prudently and do not pollute our water source.

“We have to change the way we use water,” he said.

Equinox to have small impact on the country
yimie yong The Star 23 Mar 19;

PETALING JAYA: Equinox, a phenomenon where the sun is positioned on top of the head in the equatorial region, is expected to have a weaker impact on Malaysia.

“The effects of equinoxes on the equator area are generally lower than the effects of monsoon and climate patterns,” said Malaysian Meteorological Department director-general Alui Bahari.

The equatorial region, he said, receives maximum sunlight throughout the year.

“Due to the constant sunlight it receives, the region will only experience a small variation in its climate due to equinoxes,” he said when contacted about how equinox will affect the weather in Malaysia.

“Drink more water for the next seven days (March 22-28) due to equinox. The body gets dehydrated very fast during this period. Please share this news to maximum groups,” the message reads.

Alui said equinox happens twice a year, either on March 21 or 22, or Sept 22 or 23.

In Malaysia, it happens on March 21 and Sept 23.

Interestingly, MetMalaysia last year also had to refute news on the Equinox phenomenon.

The department had then said a hike in temperature was expected to take place but would not result in a heat wave as claimed in the message.

Alui said based on the monitoring of thermal wavelength status, as at 4.40pm yesterday, there was no area in the country experiencing heat waves, where the temperature exc­eeds 37°C in three consecutive days.

“However, there are some areas that are on the alert because the temperature in the area reaches 35 to 37°C, namely Chuping, Kota Setar, Pendang, Sik, Hulu Perak, Kinta, Jeli, Tanah Merah, Kuala Krai , Gua Musang, Jerantut, Maran, Tangkak, Sri Aman and Kapit,” he said.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s professor of climatology and oceano­­graphy Dr Fredolin Tangang said the hot weather in the Peninsula, especially the west coast, is expected to improve as the inter-Monsoon arrives.

“Usually, there will be thunderstorms in the afternoon and late afternoon. But in Sabah and the northern part of the Peninsula, the hot spell may continue until April,” he said.

The MetMalaysia website showed that several states in the country are expected to see thunderstorms in the coming week, starting today.

For example, in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Putrajaya and Negri Sembilan, it is expected to see thunderstorms from March 23 to 25 and on March 28. No rain is expected on March 26 and 27.

There will be thunderstorms from March 23 to 28 in Penang.

In Sarawak, there will be no rain from March 23 to 25 and there will be thunderstorms over inland areas from March 26 to 28.

In the meantime, Malaysians are doing their best to counter the effects of the hot weather.

Lai Yuen Theng, who works in a daycare centre in Kepong, Selangor, said it was preparing porridge and herbal tea for the children to help “cool” their bodies.

Property agent Melissa Chen, who lives in Kuala Lumpur, said she will try her best to arrange house viewings for her clients in the morning as the weather is extremely hot these days.

“I will try my best to stay indoors. Last week, I brought clients to four places to look at condominium units. The temperature that day was about 37°C. I fell sick after dri­ving and walking under the hot sun,” she said.

She also expected a spike in the electricity bill as she used the air-conditioner more frequently.

SPAN chairman: Use water prudently, don't pollute its sources
wani muthiah The Star 22 Mar 19;

KLANG: The National Water Services Commission (SPAN) has reminded Malaysians to use water frugally and to avoid any wastage.

The Commission’s chairman Charles Santiago said this was necessary to ensure everyone as well as the future generations had access to water.

“Malaysia is currently facing a water shortage due to the continuous hot climate in several parts of the country.

“Thousands of families are experiencing water disruption and have to depend on water sent by tankers,’’ said Santiago in a statement in conjunction with the World Water Day 2019 on Friday (March 22).

Santiago also said toxic waste pollution in Sungai Kim Kim, Johor and the Klang River in Selangor, recently, has adversely affected public health.

“So to commemorate World Water Day on March 22, I would like to urge all Malaysians - water consumers, the private sector and the industrial sector - to collectively take-up the responsibility with SPAN to ensure water is used prudently and its sources are not polluted,’’ said Santiago.

He said this would allow Malaysians to continue enjoying safe water supply at a reasonable rate.

Santiago added there was a need for consumers to change the way they used water as the current usage amount far surpassed SPAN’s projection of 201 litres in 2020.

He said water can be conserved if consumers used water efficient products that were available in the market.

Santiago also reminded people to refrain from throwing rubbish into rivers.

He urged all Malaysians, especially the industrial sector, to observe the law and be cautious about dumping industrial waste into rivers.

Santiago explained that rivers were the main water source in Malaysia and provided 80.46 % of the country’s raw water in 2017 according to the Malaysia Water Industry Guide 2018.

“Raw water from clean rivers can reduce the water treatment costs," he added.