Air Itam dam's water supply can lasts only 32 days amid festive demand surge

GEORGE TOWN: The water supply from the Air Itam dam is expected to last for only 32 days due to the increased demand during the festive period.

Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) chief executive officer K. Pathmanathan said water levels at the dam had depleted despite the recent downpour.

Such a situation, he said, was normal since the PBAPP has increased the drawdown to meet the demands of the festive period during Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

"We increased the raw water drawdown from 9.24 million litres per day (MLD) to an average of 25.82 MLD yesterday.

"At the same time, we also increased the production at the Air Itam water treatment plant for the coming days from April 12 to 14.

"Thereafter, it will be back to our Air Itam Water Dam Action Plan 2024 (AIDAP 2024)," he told the New Straits Times today.

Two days before Hari Raya Aidilfitri, PBAPP announced the deployment of 13 water tankers as a stand-by measure to avoid or minimise supply disruptions in Penang during the hot and dry festive season.

These tankers, including three jumbo tankers (maximum capacity of 40,000 litres each), were on stand-by to serve some neighbourhoods in Seberang Prai Selatan (SPS) as well as a few high-ground and end-of line (EoL) neighbourhoods in Relau and Bukit Belah, in the southwest district.

Pathmanathan said from April 14 onwards, PBAPP would reduce the drawdown to the range of 9 MLD of raw water from the dam to increase the dam water level.

On Feb 2, PBAPP said it was finalising the AIDAP 2024 proposal to the state government that might potentially increase the effective capacity of the Air Itam dam from 34.6 per cent to 50 per cent by the end of April.

This followed the dwindling of the Air Itam dam water level.

Meanwhile, Pathmanathan said the recent downpours had helped the dam."It recorded 14mm rainfall at the Air Itam catchment area yesterday.

"The downpour has also helped to increase the raw water for more treatment at the Air Itam water treatment plan," he said.

For now, Pathmanathan said, the overall water supply status in Penang is under control with a prediction of significantly higher rainfall in the coming three to four months.

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