Water levels in Sungai Selangor Dam nearing critical level

The Star, 13 Mar 2014

PETALING JAYA: Water levels in Selangor’s dams are reaching critical levels, with its largest – the Sungai Selangor Dam – recording a mere 40.53% capacity as of 8am Thursday.

According to the Selangor Water Management Authority (LUAS) website, the Sungai Selangor Dam which serves over 60% of the Klang Valley and Selangor’s 7.1 million people was at 40.99% capacity at the same time Wednesday.

This was consistent with a statement by the Selangor government in early Feb that said that water in the dam was diminishing by 0.4% every day, a matter caused by a heatwave in the Peninsular lasting several weeks and lack of substantial rain in water catchment areas.

Selangor’s other dams also showed low water levels: Batu (90.72%), Langat (61.53%), Semenyih (77.49%), Sg Tinggi (71.22%), Tasik Subang (91.63%) and Klang Gates (51.44%).

A previous The Star report cited sources saying that water levels at dams would be deemed critical if they were below 40%.

However, LUAS director Md Khairi Selamat disagreed with this figure, adding that the dam’s critical capacity level was at 30%.

“If it continues like this, that is if it doesn’t rain at all, we have about 30 days before it (Sg Selangor Dam) reaches critical level,” he told The Star.

Selangor’s depleting water resources have led the state to set up water rationing measures for the whole of March.

The state is currently going through a third phase of this measure, which according to the National Water Services Commission (SPAN) affects 722,032 households or about 3.6 million people.

As such, many households in the state have to face a two-day on and two-day off water availability pattern.

Brief rainfall in certain parts of the state has barely helped to increase water levels.

Cloud seeding operations have also been put on hold indefinitely as aircraft meant for this have been deployed to aid the search and rescue mission for missing flight MH370.

Meanwhile in Johor, thousands of households there will be forced to rely on water tankers due to dried-up rivers.

According to SPAN, the Sembrong Timur water treatment plant serving the Kluang district can now only produce less than 0.4 million litres (MLD) of treated water a day, as opposed to 31 MLD on normal days.

Johor water operator Syarikat Air Johor has mobilised 23 water tankers and 88 static tank to serve 4,075 water accounts there.

In the Mersing district, the Congok Dam has reached a level of 4.47m below the critical level of 4.5m, forcing a two-day on and two-day off water release pattern for 6,418 accounts there.

In the Kulaijaya district, up to 1,172 accounts will be affected by a 12-hour on and 12-hour off water release pattern.

Finally, 4,839 accounts in Kota Tinggi district will be affected by a one-day on and one-day off water release pattern.

SPAN added that the water rationing measures for the affected Mersing, Kulaijaya and Kota Tinggi accounts will last from March 17 to March 31.