Penang govt taking measures to address declining water levels at Air Itam dam

BUTTERWORTH: The Penang government will take several measures to control the further dwindling of the Air Itam dam's water level.

As of 11am today, the dam's water level has further dropped to 35.4 per cent from 36.6 per cent 24 hours ago.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said he would discuss with Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) chief executive officer K. Pathmanathan for a cloud-seeding exercise to be carried out at the dam area.

"That is one option. Secondly, it is of course getting consumers' cooperation to use water wisely at this time.

"And thirdly, we will need to re-mobilise water supply from other areas to supply water to areas currently being served by the Air Itam dam.

"Whatever it is, we will make sure no areas face any water shortage problem," he told newsmen here today.

He was commenting on reports that the water supply from the Air Itam dam would only last for less than a month if the current dry season persists.

Pathmanathan said water supply could only last for 29 days if they maintained the outflow from the dam.

Chow acknowledged that the dam's water level is low.

"We will take these measures to control the situation.

"But ultimately, we hope for more rainfall to bring some respite," he added.

Chow was met after presenting his keynote address at the Smart Agriculture and Food Manufacturing: Cultivating a Sustainable Future conference here today.

In his speech, Chow said being Malaysia's second smallest state with limited land and natural resources and home to 1.8 million people, it was imperative for Penang to explore new methods and innovations to ensure food security within our borders.

He said, in the Penang's 2024 Budget, a total of RM6.93 million had been allocated to support the state's Agriculture Department.

Additionally, the Veterinary Services Department had been granted RM4.6 million to strengthen the livestock and food industry.

Chow also announced the launch of the Penang Food and Agri Tech Industry Council, to be headed by Datuk Loo Lee Lian, Invest Penang chief executive officer.

The council is to promote more synergies between industrial players and government agencies to introduce more initiatives that can further advance smart agriculture and food manufacturing industries, and cultivate a sustainable food system within the state.

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