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KUALA LUMPUR, July 9, 2015:

The Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) warned of lower water levels in dams and rivers in the country due to the southwest monsoon season from mid-May to the end of September which brings hot and dry weather.

Director of Water Resources Management and Hydrology Datuk Hanapi Mohamad Noor said that based on early warnings issued by the Malaysian Meteorological Department, the probability of the El Nino weather phenomenon occurring was as high as 90%.

Nevertheless, he added, initial preparations had been done at all the dams that supply water for domestic, industrial and irrigation purposes.

“At present, only the Labong Dam (Johor) and Bukit Kwong Dam (Kelantan) are at danger level as both dams have been supplying water for paddy cultivation.

“Water level at the Timah Tasoh dam in Perlis is at the warning stage.

“But, we expect the water level in all three dams to be normal soon.”

Hanapi added water level at eight other dams namely Sembrong (Johor), Bekok (Johor), Padang Saga (Kedah), Pedu (Kedah), Muda (Kedah), Anak Endau (Pahang), Langat (Selangor) and Batu (Selangor) were at the alert stage.

The water level is normal for 10 other dams, namely Sungai Selangor (Selangor), Sungai Tinggi (Pahang), Machap (Johor), Beris (Kedah), Ahning (Kedah), Bukit Merah (Perak), Tasik Subang (Selangor), Semenyih (Selangor), Klang Gate (Selangor) and Ulu Kinta (Perak).

Hanapi, speaking at a Press conference today, added that the water level in all of the 21 dams in the country was deemed as being at normal levels as more than 60% of them had levels higher than last year during the same period.

“Last year, the Sungai Selangor dam which supplies 60% of raw water to Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, declined by 35%, almost beyond the critical point. However, this year the water level still stands at more than 60%.

“DID will continue to monitor the water level in the dam and the flow of water in the rivers which are used for water treatment, to prevent drought with the help of available equipment and expertise.”

Hanapi added based on the monitoring at 41 rainfall stations across the country, lower rainfall would occur in June, July and August while October, November and December would see an increase.

“The minimum level can cause a water crisis but the remaining storage in all dams show readings of over 73%.

“Sungai Selangor dam has a remaining storage of as much as 79%.

“Therefore, if there is no rainfall in the catchment area, the assumption is that there will be a decrease, based on the DID analysis, of 60% which is at the alert stage.”

In the meantime, a total of 22 water pumps are on standby to pump water from 30 reservoirs located throughout Selangor and in other states.

Hanapi surmised that the department was much more prepared this year to face all eventualities.

In addition, he said, DID would advise the Malaysian Meteorological Department should cloud seeding be needed at dams and water catchment areas in the event of a drastic decline in the water level.

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