Water-starved Johor to conduct cloud-seeding ops

ISKANDAR PUTERI • The Johor government is expected to conduct five cloud-seeding operations in an effort to solve the state's water shortage issues, said state executive councillor Jimmy Puah.

He said the entire operation would cost RM175,000 (S$57,800) and that the money would be taken from an emergency fund. "Each cloud-seeding operation will cost about RM35,000," he said after the Johor state assembly sitting on Thursday.

Mr Puah, who is state international trade, investment and utility committee chairman, said cost was not the main concern and that the low success rate of such operations - only 10 to 20 per cent - was also being considered.

"There are other issues that need to be looked into before the operations are carried out. We need to look at other factors such as the weather and timing, besides having to consult the Malaysian Meteorological Department," he said.

Johor has seen a spell of hot weather with no rainfall in recent weeks, causing the water level at several dams - including Machap, Lebam, Upper Layang and Pulai 2 - to dip to a critical stage.

Johor's water operator Ranhill SAJ, which treats and distributes water, has implemented rationing until Oct 2.

Earlier at the state assembly, Mr Puah said the state government had conducted a number of projects to address issues that had arisen because of the hot weather and the El Nino phenomenon linked to dry conditions. These projects included the pumping of raw water from the Seluyut dam to the Lebam dam.

Mr Puah said the state government had also sent proposals to the federal government for the approval of several projects to deal with the water shortage. These include the construction of a dam and barrage for the Ulu Sedili Besar River, and coastal reservoirs for the Johor and Pulai rivers. "We hope these projects will be implemented by the federal government by next year," he added.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2019, with the headline 'Water-starved Johor to conduct cloud-seeding ops'. Print Edition | Subscribe