Malaysia: Sungai Golok dries up

Bernama New Straits Times 6 Mar 19;

PASIR MAS: The dry spell in Kelantan which started about two weeks ago, has caused the water level in Sungai Golok, which borders Malaysia and Thailand, to drop significantly.

A check by Bernama in Rantau Panjang found a sandbar had formed in the middle of the river, causing problems for boat operators to do their daily activities.

In addition, a check at Kampung Jeram Perdah here found the distance between Malaysia and Thailand had "shortened" as the river had been reduced to a 4 metre drain.

As a result, residents living nearby can merely travel on foot to the neighbouring country.

A boat operator Din Mamat, 50, said the situation had forced boat operators to be more careful for fear of being hit by woods or rocks in the shallow riverbed.

He added there were also incidences when boats got stuck in the sand, causing engine failure and forcing the boats to be towed to the river bank.

"The shallow waters however have encouraged people, especially children from both countries to come and bathe in the river. I foresee that it the water level continues to drop, there will be a carnival-like atmosphere near the river, as had happened a few years ago. There were even those who set up stalls," he said when met by Bernama here.

A resident of Kampung Jeram Perdah, Ismail Awang, 60, said the prolonged dry weather would not be good for boat operators, as people could now walk on foot to the border.

"Previously, this area was a favourite spot for fishermen and anglers, but now it is difficult for them to earn a living," he added. - Bernama

Sungai Golok water level drops to 3.6m from 5m
The Star 7 Mar 19;

PASIR MAS: The dry spell that hit Kelantan in the past two weeks has caused the water level in Sungai Golok to drop to 3.58m, way below its normal level of 5m.

A check by Bernama in Rantau Panjang found that sandbanks could be seen in the middle of Sun­gai Golok which posed challenges to boat operators ferrying passengers from both sides of the river.

In Kampung Jeram Perdah near here, the dry spell turned the river into a “ditch” with only a 4m distance between Malaysia and Thai­land.

As a result, residents living nearby could cross to the neighbouring country on foot by stepping on the rocks in the riverbed.

One of the boat operators, Din Mamat, 50, said they had to be more careful in navigating their boats for fear of hitting timber, sand and rocks in shallow water.

He said there were incidents where boats caught in the sand suffered engine damage.

“However, the dry spell also attracted the attention of local residents, especially children from both sides of the river, to bathe in the shallow water in the evening.

“If the dry spell continues, I expect there will be another water festival along the river similar to a few years ago when many came to play and picnic and some traders even set up stalls selling stuff,” he said yesterday.

A resident of Kampung Jeram Perdah, Ismail Awang, 60, said the dry spell had also caused boat operators’ business to slow as people could now cross the border on foot.

“Besides, this area is also known to be the focus of fishing activity but as the water level continues to drop, it may soon pose challenges for the fishermen fishing here,” he said.

The Kelantan Department of Irrigation and Drainage’s portal showed that apart from Sungai Go­lok, the water level of Sungai Kelantan in Kusial, Tanah Merah, has dropped to 7.30m, below its normal level of 10m.

The water level of Sungai Kelan­tan in Air Mulih, Pasir Mas, drop­ped to 1.57m compared to its normal level of 4m.

However, the water levels in most rivers in Hulu Kelantan including Gua Musang and Kuala Krai are still normal.

Kelantan is currently experiencing a dry spell even though it is still in the north-east monsoon period. — Bernama

Fish pond farmer rues potential losses from dry weather
RAMLI IBRAHIM New Straits Times 6 Mar 19;

GUA MUSANG: A fish pond farmer in Kampung Lepan Jaya near here could suffer losses of more than RM500,000 if the current hot and dry weather persists.

Mat Nawi Hussin, 60, said he had been rearing 100,000 different types of pond fish for the past 26 years.

According to him, this was the first time he was facing such a situation.

"Since the long drought began more than a month ago, the water in all eight ponds receded 0.5 meters.

"What's worrying is that if the situation continues, it can cause 9,000 'ikan kelah' to die.

"The fish are now primed for sale. Each weighs between one and three kilogrammes, and fetches a price of RM200 per kilogramme, "he said when met yesterday.

Besides 'ikan kelah', Mat Nawi also breeds 40,000 tilapias, catfish (30,000) and 'tongsang' fish (20,000).

He said he was now at his wit's end and is unable to overcome the problem of ponds drying out.

"I hope the relevant parties can help resolve this issue immediately," he added.

Dry spell threatens fish farm
The Star 7 Mar 19;

GUA MUSANG: A pond fish breeder stands to lose RM500,000 when about 100,000 commercial fish of various species at his fish farm in Kampung Lepan Jaya here face the prospect of being wiped out as the ponds are drying up following the month-long hot weather.

Mat Nawi Hussin, 60, said that most worrying was the water level in a pond containing about 9,000 mahseer (kelah) which had dropped to 0.5m and there was no way to overcome the problem.

He said he depended on water co­l­­l­ec­ted from the hills to supplem­ent the needs of the ponds but now the supply was also drying up and inadequate to overcome the problem.

He said that the other fish on his farm were tilapia (40,000), silver catfish (patin) (30,000) and bigheaded carp (Tongsan) (20,000) which would mature for harvest next month.

Mat Nawi said this was the first time he faced the prospect of losses due to the hot weather since he first ventured into fish farming over 30 years ago.

He said he would try to market the fish, especially the mahseer, as quickly as possible to avoid incurring a bigger loss.

“Mahseers are quite fragile and can easily die if there is not enough water in the pond,” he said.

He said the capital needed to install new pipes to channel water from the hills was also high but considered the matter as a challenge to him as a fish breeder.

“I have also constructed a new pond to increase the number of fish I breed but I have to put it off until this matter is settled and the rain comes,” he said. — Bernama