JOHOR BARU, Oct 13, 2015:

The long-awaited cloud-seeding operation in Johor took place as scheduled yesterday in an effort to restore water levels at the Sungai Layang and Sungai Lebam dams in the state.

The first flight saw a specially-equipped Cessna aircraft taking off from the Senai International Airport at 1pm.

The aircraft carried ioidised salt, which is the main component in inducing rain clouds.

Johor Water Regulatory Body (Bakaj) is overseeing the entire cloud-seeding operations in the state.

The operations involve a total of 20 scheduled flights over the next 20 days.

Bakaj director Mohd Riduan Md Ali said the cloud-seeding process would take almost three hours for each flight.

“We are confident we can carry out the 20 cloud-seeding flights until the end of the month,” he said in a statement.

Mohd Riduan said the focus of the operations was to produce rain over dams with critically low water levels, such as the Sungai Layang and Sungai Lebam dams.

“The operations will also involve other dams in Machap, Chongok, Juaseh and Sembrong In Johor.”

Mohd Riduan said the cloud-seeding operations, which were initiated by the state government, had obtained the approval and co-operation from the Department of Civil Aviation, Malaysian Meteorological Department and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.

Since earlier of this month, efforts have been in place to restore the low water levels at the affected dams to complement the cloud-seeding operation.

A 500-metre-long pipe stretching from Sungai Tiram to Sungai Johor has been built to transfer about 35 million litres of water from Sungai Tiram to Sungai Johor in effort to maintain the Sungai Johor water levels.

The state government has also extended the water rationing exercise affecting three districts to Nov 15. This is the third time that the water rationing exercise has been extended.

The rationing was a measure to maintain the critical water levels in the Sungai Layang and Sungai Lebam dams.

It has affected consumers in Pasir Gudang, Masai and parts of Johor Baru as well as the Tanjung Surat, Pantai Timur and Pengerang subdistricts in Kota Tinggi.

At present, the Sungai Layang dam channels raw water into the Sultan Iskandar water treatment plant and supplies water to more than 600,000 consumers in Pasir Gudang, Masai and parts of Johor Baru.

The Sungai Lebam dam in Kota Tinggi, on the other hand, supplies raw water to the Sungai Lebam water treatment plant and provides water supply to more than 65,000 users in Pengerang, Bandar Penawar and Felda Air Tawar in Kota Tinggi.

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