Penang govt monitoring Air Itam dam's water level

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government is closely monitoring the Air Itam dam, which has the capacity to last for more than 30 days without rain.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) has also taken initial steps since last month to reduce water extraction from the Air Itam dam to maintain its water capacity.

"We are closely monitoring the situation and do not deny that it (the Air Itam dam) is below the comfortable level. We hope that rain will fall and refill the dam.

"The Air Itam dam can only last a little more than 30 days and we have taken measures to reduce the extraction (of water) from it. If we do not take this step, the dam may be at an empty level," Chow said today.

He said this after witnessing the signing ceremony between Penang-based financial technology firm Finhero and IT and business services company NTT Data Corp of Japan.

It was reported yesterday that raw water storage reserves in four dams in Johor, Penang, and Kedah have decreased to critical levels due to the hot weather.

The National Disaster Management Agency said the dams affected were the West Sembrong dam in Johor, currently at 31.65 per cent capacity; Penang's Air Itam dam at 35 per cent; and, Kedah's BS Padang Saga dam at 39.67 per cent and Malut dam at 39.90 per cent. (

Chow, who is PBAPP chairman, said about 10,000 water consumer accounts received their water supply from the Air Itam dam.

"However, only 5,000 accounts still receive water supply from the Air Itam dam, while the remaining 5,000 accounts obtain water from the Sungai Dua water treatment plant to meet the needs of users at Air Itam."

Chow said the state might not seek help from the federal government for cloud seeding operations again as the previous effort did not trigger rainfall in the dam area.

"We hope there will be natural rain as cloud seeding does not guarantee rain.

"Usually, Penang will start receiving rain from April, May and June, and we hope this rain will refill our dam to a comfortable level, carrying us through the next rainy season from September to November.

"This natural rain trend has been observed for decades in our state, unless there is a shift in climate patterns that alters this."

Chow said at this time, the state obtained its water supply from Sungai Muda and the level was quite comfortable, considering it was controlled by two dams in Kedah.

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