No clouds to make rain in Johor
Thu, Mar 25, 2010
New Straits Times

MALAYSIA, JOHOR BARU: Despite the relief from short rainy spells in several districts here, no end is in sight for the water shortage in the state.

Even the cloud-seeding exercises were halted between March 15 and 21 due to the absence of cumulus clouds.

State International Trade and Industry, Energy, Water, Communication and Environment Committee chairman Tan Kok Hong said without the clouds, the cloud-seeding exercise which was being done following the dry spell in central Johor, would be rendered useless.

Tan said cloud-seeding exercises were carried out on Monday and Tuesday and they were still waiting for positive results.

"We will continue with the cloud-seeding exercises whenever the clouds reappear."

The exercise, which is costing the state RM500,000 (S$211,500), is being jointly carried out by the Bahagian Kawalselia Air Johor (Bakaj) which coordinates the water resources in the state, the Meteorological Department and Department of Irrigation and Drainage.

Tan said the state was waiting for the green light from the Meteorological Department to resume the cloud-seeding exercise.

Though the cloud-seeding exercises had shown minor improvements last week, the situation had not improved this week as the water levels at dams and rivers in the state, especially in central Johor, were still at unstable levels.

Yesterday, it was announced that the latest drought-hit district, Batu Pahat, would join Kluang in the state's water rationing exercise, as the Bekok dam's level has dipped below its critical level.

The state water management company SAJ Holdings Sdn Bhd said a month-long water rationing exercise for Batu Pahat would begin on March 29.

Rationing exercise is being carried out in an effort to halt further decline of the water level in the Bekok river and dam which supplies most of its water to Batu Pahat.

SAJ's corporate communications head Jamaluddin Jamil said water levels at the Bekok dam registered 9.3 metres, which is below the 10m critical mark.

He also pointed out that due to the low levels of water there was high levels of aluminium, ammonia and chloride in the water.

"There is, however, nothing to worry about as the water is treated before reaching households.

Nevertheless, he urged people in Batu Pahat and Kluang to use water sparingly until the current dry spell ends.

"We also have several water tankers on standby at the two districts to supply water to remote areas as part of our contingency plan," he said.

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