Dam At 70% But Don’t Celebrate Yet

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PETALING JAYA – The level at the Sungai Selangor dam – the state’s largest – has touched the 70% mark but water experts say there is no reason for Klang Valley folk to celebrate just yet.

Association of Water and Energy Research president S. Piarapakaran said the authorities and consumers must continue to be on alert as the dry season was expected to kick in.

Furthermore, there was the expected higher usage by domestic users and industries in preparation for Chinese New Year and Ramadan, he said.

“The current 70.18% level does not guarantee anything. The heavy reliance on the Sungai Selangor dam to service about 50% of consumers in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya will cause water to be used up quickly.

He pointed out that the level also stood at about 70% in January last year, before the prolonged dry weather led to water rationing imposed on 6.7 million users in the Klang Valley.

“We may still be at risk of water rationing. If possible, cloud seeding should be done as a precaution instead of doing it during the dry season when no suitable clouds are available,” he said when contacted.

The water level at Sungai Selangor Dam in June last year.
The water level at Sungai Selangor Dam in June last year.

Forum Air Malaysia, an organisation that assists the National Water Services Commission, also raised concern about the Sungai Tinggi dam, which supplements the Sungai Selangor dam.

The organisation’s senior executive Foon Weng Lian said the Sungai Tinggi dam recorded a rather low level of 63.42% on Saturday.

“If the hot and dry weather hits us again like last year, we may be in trouble. Not only do we need more rain to fall into the dams but people must continue using water wisely,” he said.

Meteorological Department spokesman Dr Hisham Mohd Anip said Malaysians could expect the current wet weather to be replaced by the dry season between January and March.

“This period is usually considered as dry months for the country except for Johor, Sabah and Sarawak.

“Normally, the highest temperature will be recorded in March or April over the northern states in the peninsula and ranges between 36°C and 38°C,” he said.

Dr Hisham said during this period, northern states would experience the least rain of about 50mm a month while other parts of Malaysia would receive low rainfall of between 100mm and 200mm monthly.

However, he said the dry season would not severely affect the dam levels in Selangor as it was only a short period before the rainy inter-monsoon starts in April.

“Normally, we have a problem with water shortage during the southwest monsoon between June and September.

“This is another dry period for the country and we usually experience haze then. However, it is too soon to predict if it will be hotter or drier in this period.”

On El Nino, he said it had yet to fully develop in Malaysia and could only be confirmed in April.

“The El Nino’s initial phase started in November. Now, it is in the developing process but so far, it is expected to be a weak El Nino,” he said. – The Star