DRY SPELL

Three Johor areas face water rationing for a month

A Johor resident getting ready for the month-long water rationing exercise that will last until Oct 2. Nearly 150,000 residents across three areas in the Malaysian state have been subjected to water rationing since Monday, as a spell of hot weather w
A Johor resident getting ready for the month-long water rationing exercise that will last until Oct 2. Nearly 150,000 residents across three areas in the Malaysian state have been subjected to water rationing since Monday, as a spell of hot weather with no rainfall has caused the water levels at four of Johor's dams to dip to a critical stage. PHOTO: THE STAR ONLINE/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
A Johor resident getting ready for the month-long water rationing exercise that will last until Oct 2. Nearly 150,000 residents across three areas in the Malaysian state have been subjected to water rationing since Monday, as a spell of hot weather w
The Upper Layang dam (above) is one of the four dams in Johor state that are at a critical water level.PHOTO: BERNAMA

A lack of rain across the region has resulted in water rationing and a disruption in supply to 150,000 households in Malaysia, while Thailand faces economic losses in rice farming, with up to 200,000ha of padi fields destroyed.

JOHOR BARU • A spell of hot weather with no rainfall for the past two weeks has caused the water level at Johor's Machap dam to dip to a critical stage and disrupted supply to almost 150,000 consumers in three areas in the state.

Johor's water operator Ranhill SAJ, which is involved in water treatment and distribution of treated water, has implemented water rationing for one month. An estimated 149,550 consumers from 29,910 accounts around Simpang Renggam, Layang-Layang and northern Pontian have been subjected to water rationing since Monday.

The exercise will go on until Oct 2.

"To ensure that clean water supply is optimised under limited resource conditions, Ranhill SAJ will arrange to supply water for 36 hours, followed by the next 36 hours without water," said Malaysia's National Water Services Commission (Span).

Besides the Machap dam, Span pointed out that three other dams in Johor were also at critical levels.

They are the Lebam, Upper Layang and Pulai 2 dams.

"However, water supply in the affected areas is still regulated through the pumping of raw water from the Seluyut dam for the Lebam and Upper Layang dams, and the Pontian Kecil dam for the Pulai 2 dam," said Span.

 
 
 
 

The commission also said it would continue to monitor the water levels at major dams that supply water across Malaysia, and submit regular reports to the Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry.

Singapore gets part of its water supply from the Linggiu reservoir, which is separate from the Machap, Lebam, Upper Layang and Pulai 2 dams.

The Johor state government last week sounded the alarm over falling water levels in the Machap dam.

State International Trade, Investment and Utilities Committee chairman Jimmy Puah on Saturday described the level of water in the Machap dam as being at a "critical point".

"The water level at the dam is at 14.45m, compared with a previous reading on Aug 24, which was at 14.63m. This is below its critical level of 14.84m," he had said.

This is not the first time Johor dams have experienced a significant drop in water levels attributed to hot weather. In February, two dams in Johor were reported to have had low water levels due to a prolonged dry spell.

The Lebam dam in eastern Johor, which normally has a water level of 14m, saw its level plunge to almost 2m below its critical point. The water level at another major dam south of Kota Tinggi town, called Lok Heng, was reported to be 50cm above the critical level of 1.5m.

Two months later, Span said the water level at the Lebam dam was at the 15.9 per cent mark, while that at the Upper Layang dam was at 21.8 per cent and the Pulai 2 dam at 36.1 per cent.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2019, with the headline 'Three Johor areas face water rationing for a month'. Print Edition | Subscribe