Water level at dam in Johor Baru critically low

Malaysia's water services chief Mohd Ridhuan says water cuts in Johor Baru and Pasir Gudang are highly possible if the situation at Sungai Layang dam does not improve.
Malaysia's water services chief Mohd Ridhuan says water cuts in Johor Baru and Pasir Gudang are highly possible if the situation at Sungai Layang dam does not improve.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

Dam that supplies 500,000 people is in danger of drying up, but no rationing yet

JOHOR BARU • The water level at Sungai Layang dam has dropped to a critical level.

The dam will be able to supply water for only up to three weeks if the present weather persists, reported The Star yesterday.

It added that the Malaysian authorities have not started any water rationing or scheduled water cuts for about 500,000 residents who get their supply from the dam.

The dam, which supplies water to households in Pasir Gudang and Johor Baru, is one of several dams in the country which has seen a significant drop in water levels, leading to water rationing in some areas.

The other dams affected include Timah Tasoh in northern Perlis, which saw a low water level of just 13.2 per cent last week. Bukit Merah in Perak is at 13.7 per cent and Gemencheh in Negri Sembilan at 19.97 per cent. Three other dams in Johor badly affected are Sungai Lebam (26.5 per cent), Congok (32.28 per cent) and Labong (10 per cent).

There is a high possibility of water cuts being implemented if the situation does not improve, said Malaysia's National Water Services Commission (SPAN) chief executive officer Mohd Ridhuan Ismail.

The other dams affected include Timah Tasoh in northern Perlis, which saw a low water level of just 13.2 per cent last week. Bukit Merah in Perak is at 13.7 per cent and Gemencheh in Negri Sembilan at 19.97 per cent. Three other dams in Johor badly affected are Sungai Lebam (26.5 per cent), Congok (32.28 per cent) and Labong (10 per cent).

"The water level at Sungai Layang is now at 19.58m, which is way below critical level of 23.5m," Datuk Mohd Ridhuan told reporters after visiting the Sungai Layang water treatment plant in Johor Baru.

"It is alarming because the level seems to be consistently dropping by about 0.03 to 0.04 metre per day."

Mr Mohd Ridhuan added that a scheduled water rationing exercise in Mersing and Kota Tinggi may have to extend beyond May 15 as the dry spell in the area is expected to persist.

Meanwhile, SPAN member Roger Tan Kor Mee urged the public to conserve water and use it wisely because if the current trend continues, it would affect many people in parts of Johor Baru and Pasir Gudang, he said.

Last week, a top state official had told The Star that Johor will continue to meet its obligation to supply 250 million gallons of raw water to Singapore daily, even though water levels at the Linggiu Reservoir have fallen to a new historic low.

The reservoir, which helps to meet half of Singapore's water needs, is just over one-third full now, reported The Star.

The Separation Agreement guarantees Singapore the right to draw 250 million imperial gallons a day of raw water from the Johor River. This right expires in 2061.

There are 41 dams in Peninsular Malaysia.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 05, 2016, with the headline 'Water level at dam in Johor Baru critically low'. Print Edition | Subscribe