GEORGE TOWN: Penang has been placed on high alert after recording the worst dam water levels ever in the state’s history.
Water level capacity recorded at the Air Itam dam today was at 62 per cent while the Teluk Bahang dam was only 39.5 per cent.
"The water level prior to Christmas was nearly 100 per cent, but it has dropped significantly.
"We are doing whatever it takes to avoid water rationing," Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) chief executive officer Datuk Jaseni Maidinsa told a press conference here today.
Also present were Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow and state Agriculture, Agro-based Industries, Rural Development and Health Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin.
In the last three years, from 2017 to 2019, water level at the Air Itam dam was 99.4 per cent, 97.5 per cent and 88.7 per cent respectively, while in Teluk Bahang it was 100 per cent, 98.6 per cent and 81.4 per cent during the same period.
In the period September to December 2019, the total rainfall recorded in the Air Itam dam area was 702 millimetre (mm), equivalent to 44.5 per cent of the three year average of 1,577mm recorded for 2016 to 2019.
Meanwhile, the total rainfall recorded at the Teluk Bahang dam area in the final quarter of last year was 1,732mm, equivalent to 55.9 per cent of the three-year average of 3,101mm.
Jaseni said that the primary cause was abnormally low rainfall in the past four months due to global climate change.
"As we are coming to the festive period, we do understand that the Chinese community need clean water for a host of things. In previous years, there was a drop to even 15 per cent of water level during such time. So, we advise all to use less water.
"Avoid using hoses to clean your home and car and also to water your garden. Do not leave the tap running," he said.
PBAPP is taking the necessary steps in order to sustain water supply until the rain arrives, forecasted to be in April or May.
Jaseni said that PBAPP had been minimising raw water drawdowns from the Air Itam and Teluk Bahang dams.
He also said that PBAPP had also optimised the production of water in the Sungai Dua Water Treatment Plant on the mainland and pumped more treated water to the island.
When asked if Penang would formally request Putrajaya to carry out cloud seeding in the state, Jaseni said that PBAPP would advise the state government once the dam water capacity reached below 30 per cent.